Yes; it’s as simple as that and as profound at the same time: being mindful. With his Kafkaesque trail of thoughts, Toehold Patron Siddharth Reddy will hold you in a conversation that’s so certain of its course that you can’t help but give it your attention completely and willingly.
A flicker of fascination for wildlife in Siddharth’s childhood days started to grow intensely in his later years. Its unceasing light grew brighter than ever in 2009, when he set out to explore the wildlife reserves and sanctuaries in southern India. As mild recollections, he tells us how the world of avians started to affect him like gravity, and the sheer vividness, diversity, and identifying the physical details of birds began fascinating him.
During that journey, Siddharth concentrated more on being a better naturalist and wasn’t into photography yet. To him, animal behaviour and other elements of ecology gained priority over the art of making images. But, in July 2010, when he started to pay more attention to the elements of photography with a DSLR, something about it piqued his interest and he gave in to the joy of self-learning the basics of photography.
In the past two years, Siddharth recalls, that he has focused more on making aesthetically pleasing images than worrying about meeting the stipulated standards of professional photography. And in 2015, Siddharth participated in four Photo Tours organised by Toehold, which yielded him some of the most evocative images of diverse wildlife in their natural habitat, which are now redolent of nature’s exquisiteness.
“Letting a moment unfold itself, flower at its own pace and grace is bound to lead to something beautiful.”
He says about travel: “To be in the moment and accept everything the way it is and not to plan and judge why something exists the way it does – this is how I go about beholding the world. Letting a moment unfold itself, flower at its own pace and grace is bound to lead to something beautiful. And it doesn’t even matter if there isn’t ‘anything’ in a place I’m travelling to. To simply be, to be unruffled, to experience stillness in motion, and to feel present during travel; that’s what amazes me: the paradoxical, decorous, evolved perception that travel allows us.”
He tells us how photography has uplifted him in different circumstances of life, and how different elements of aesthetics involved in the art flow calmly, with the poise of water forming a stream.
“Photographs speak to me in a tongue I can’t quite place, and they are, strangely, as wordy as they can get. I’m a lover of frames in which the animals are shown as a part of their habitat, a bigger landscape they live in, in most cases. But, depending on the opportunity, I like making portraits too. In the recent past, I’ve been trying to comprehend my own curiosity for making pictures of different indigenous tribes and other various populaces,” says Siddharth.
To be able to fathom the singularity that branches out to multitudes of form and staggering biodiversity, is an overwhelming act granted by life to a creative.”
He continues to explain in an almost-Walt Whitman fashion: “Capturing the changing moods of people in the realm of nature makes me wonder how we exist as sub-streams of a consciousness that’s the source of all life; a source that’s all-time and all-pervading. And to be able to fathom the singularity that branches out to multitudes of form and staggering biodiversity, and to represent that imposing beauty through images is an overwhelming act granted by life to a creative.”
In a deeply contemplative tone Siddharth shares his ideas on how photography, to him, means a way to stay happy not just as a ‘point’ in time but as continuous ‘periods’ of time. “To stop a moment and freeze it forever as something that can stir up infinite emotions in infinite viewers makes me feel a sort of fuzzy warmth that’s hard to articulate. So I shall leave it at that and let the silence flood my mind,” he concludes.