February 23, 2014

Inspiration for the day

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Balan Madhavan, PRS Flat, Pulimood Junction, Thriruvananthapuram

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In 2005, an organization named International League of Conservation Photographers came into being with the avowed purpose of nature conservation through photography.  Of the 113 members, 67 senior fellows held the label of National Geographic.  The only person from India invited to this premier League was Indian photographer Balan Madhavan.

As a boy Balan was exposed to the ways of the wild as his father was a forest official.  The swift currents, changing seasons, visiting seasonal birds etc. excited the interest of the boy who made few snaps of the scenes using his father’s camera without permission.

Following his father’s admonition, he had to wait till adulthood to earn enough to buy his first camera and thus his ‘ticket’ to photography.  But when Balan’s entry appeared on the cover of the in-house magazine of forest department, the father was the first to congratulate the budding ‘sharp shooter’.

In 1992 he won a UN award eclipsing 34000 entries in a contest.  The winning entry depicted the mid-flight feeding of our local bird ‘thunnaran’. 

According to Balan, a wild life photographer should be a wild life conservationist also.  His credo is that wild life photography is not about exotic photos about exotic creatures.  Rather, it is the artistic interpretation of any being in nature. 

As a boy he had undergone few years of training in mrudangam and karate.  Perhaps the sense of rhythm and reflexes imparted by these exercises has been helpful.

While Madhavan Pillai foundation, constituted in memory of his late father, awards environmentalists every year with 1 lakh, he considers his mother B.Vatsalakumari as the inspiring light of his life.

He doesn’t have the overconfidence that anything can be framed by a photo.  Once while staying at Rajamala in Munnar, his daughter had pointed out to him at night the sight of lakhs of glowworms passing by in ripples and patterns of psychedelic delight.  No photo could have done justice to that scene.  He remembers that overwhelmed by the bounty of Nature, his daughter had wept…


Courtesy: Madhu Thrupperunthura (text), Santhosh Pangode (photo), Mathrubhumi, January 12, 2014

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