Successful Indian - successfullindian

Name - Aishwarya Sridhar

Position - Wildlife Photographer

DOB - 12th January

Place - Mumbai

A poet, storyteller, writer, and photographer - meet Aishwarya Sridhar, the 23 year old wildlife photographer who has recently won the coveted Wildlife Photography of the Year 2020 award organized by the National Museum of History. Her picture titled Lights of Passion was chosen out of 50,000 entries coming from more than 80 countries across the globe. Let’s find out more about this young, enthusiastic photographer who has made India proud with her latest feat, becoming the first Indian woman to have been bestowed with such an honour.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Aishwarya was a regular girl with a compassionate heart and a desire to do something for the environment. Having learnt about climate change and global warming in school,and its effects on wildlife, she wanted to be an ambassador of climatic change and wildlife preservation. It was a boon that she lived in Panvel with a lot of greenery and wildlife around. She would spend a lot of time in the open observing nature and being in the company of animals and birds. The turning point in her life came when her father took her on a trip to the jungle when she turned 10 years, where Aishwarya saw wildlife first hand and fell in love with it. From wanting to do Chartered Accounting, her focus completely shifted to do something with nature. The best way to retain her love for nature was through a Mass Media course, and she went ahead with it. Aishwarya wanted to bring out the colours of nature through visual art films and inspire people to conserve wildlife and nature.
Aishwarya began her journey with wildlife at the age of eight, accompanying her father for nature walks in Mumbai and nearby places. While her photography sojourn began with a point and shoot camera on her 11th birthday. “ I started to take simple nature pictures of flowers, birds, or insects. My first big picture of the big cat - the grand tiger, was with the same camera at Pench”, remembers Aishwarya. She got a great impetus after winning the Sanctuary Asia Young Naturalist award at a young age of 15. Soon she was giving talks on her affair with wildlife and also conducted campaigns on wildlife conservation. After doing her graduation in Mass Media, Aishwarya took to wildlife photography and conservation full-fledged. Ever since she has been freelancing and filming short documentaries on her favourite subject. Aishwarya has gone on to win many awards and accolades, including in 2019, the Woman Icon Award in the media category by Hon. Governor of Tamil Nadu, the International Camera Fair Award and Rotary Vocational Excellence Award, and the coveted, for her incredible work. From research, scripting to photography, on-screen presenting, and post-production she does it all. When asked about what inspires you about wildlife photography, Aishwarya speaks with a twinkle in her eyes, “To be able to witness the unique behaviour of animals in the wild and to take a peek into their world, is a privilege that I could have only got as wildlife photographer and conversationalist.” “Also, wildlife photographs work as a tool to propagate conversation. These images give voice to the species and places facing an environmental issue, and they highlight them globally. An image can travel worldwide, and the issue can get a global spotlight just through a photograph.” In addition to it, wildlife photography uplifts local tourism, thereby, giving a livelihood to the local community.

Successful Indian - successfullindian

Many aspiring photographers believe that one needs to do a professional course to understand and learn photography, but Aishwarya thinks otherwise. Being a self-taught photographer herself, she believes that you can learn the art if you have the passion. The online channel is also a great medium to hone your skills. Aishwarya advises, “Follow good photographers, and you will learn a lot of finer details. I follow many world-renowned photographers including Shannon Wild, Amy Vitale, Rathika Rathika Ramaswamy, Kalyan Verma, and Ashwika Kapoor.” When asked about what gear to have for a photographer, she said, “Any camera body is fine for clicking wildlife. It is the lens that makes the difference. For example, if it’s a bird, you need a higher focal length higher zoom lens - 150x600mm lens. If you are clicking a mammal, a 400mm is great. However, for a macro, you need a macro lens like a 100mm macro. As for the technique, I believe every image should tell a story of itself. The audience should be able to understand the story and emotion behind the shot just by looking at the image.” She also advises that do not go in for high-end gear initially. “I started with a basic point and shoot camera, and with time as I enhance my skill, I upgraded the camera and the lens. At present, I have a Canon 5D mark 3 and Canon 100x400 mm length.” Speaking about the places to visit in India for photography enthusiasts, Aishwarya recommends, “Right now, due to the pandemic, I would ask aspiring photographers to start with their own backyard because there is a lot in your own surroundings. Otherwise, you can travel to Western Ghats and Amboli in Maharashtra for some great activity. My favourite destination is Tadoba.”
It is a myth that professional wildlife photographers don’t make money. Wildlife photography is a great career if you are emotionally invested in it and have a passion for it. There are many platforms to make money if the work is good. Aishwarya adds, “You can sell your images on different platforms and get hired for myriad projects. You can also earn handsomely if you win competitions or tie-up with a company as they pay you for different assignments.”
Like any other profession, wildlife photography also has its challenges. One of the main problems is funding. Aishwarya says, “Getting funds for your projects is difficult. Also, being a girl, you can’t be on the field as girls are not generally considered to do outdoor jobs. However, I believe it is a mental block and I have overcome it. So if you are really keen on photography, don’t bow down to these limitations.”
He did not have work and struggled to manage food & shelter. In such trying times Jambo the only one who stayed by his side but he also fell sick. He suffered paralysis due to an overdose of medicines. Haran did not want him to die with a life like this. Haran was broke and he introspected on what went wrong. He decided to rise again for him and Jambo.
“My first tip would be to keep on practising. The more you practice on camera, the more perfect you become. Also, keep abreast of the latest techniques and technology that are coming in place. The more you learn, the more knowledge you have, and you can apply it to become a better photographer. Keep trying and don’t get disheartened. There will be success if you work hard.” For Aishwarya, real Success is when her photographs can make a difference in the world and bring about a positive change.
Parting words from the most promising face in the wildlife photography industry
“Be patient while on the field and know your camera inside out. Creativity and novelty in images is the key differentiating factor. Try to maintain it, and success will definitely be yours.”
  • Highly Commended Award in the Behaviour Invertebrate Category at the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year, London.The youngest and the 1st woman from India to win in the adult competition there. Wildlife Photography of the Year 2020 award organized by the National Museum of History Highly Commended Award in the Behaviour Invertebrate Category at the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year, London.The youngest and the 1st woman from India to win in the adult competition there. Wildlife Photography of the Year 2020 award organized by the National Museum of History
  • Princess Diana Award from the Royal Family.
  • Sanctuary Asia Young Naturalist Award-2011
  • UK's Young Digital Camera Photographer of the Year-2018-Category Winner-It's a Small World.
  • Woman Icon Award in the media category in 2019 by Hon. Governor of Tamil Nadu
  • International Camera Fair Award and Rotary Vocational Excellence Award
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