Nalini Rao Giridhar holds your attention with that rare clarity of thought as she shares her experiences as a traveller and photographer. Here’s a glimpse into the grandeur of her vast, intimate understanding of the world.
Having parents who nurse a curiosity for the world and a passion for art means both can easily rub off on the kids. And that’s what happened to Nalini, whose father was, as she recalls, “crazy about photography”.
The gentleman served in the Territorial Army in Malaysia during the Second World War, reveals Nalini, and had an eye for people-photography, which always suggested new ways of looking at humans in those frozen moments of time – little eternities in their own right.
The old Kodak camera which the father had once used is now Nalini’s prized possession. However, her own journey as a photographer began with a Canon camera years ago.
“I travelled a lot with my parents. And when I eventually started making pictures on my journeys, it was only in auto mode like most people do. And my hobby of photography continued even after I married, as my husband is an avid traveller, too,” says Nalini.
She recalls her travel experiences in different continents and talks fondly of Europe. Norway has all her heart because of sheer natural beauty that that part of the Earth is blessed with. She talks of journeying on the thin coastline from where the mountains look prayerfully quiet and sombre even in their immensity. She paints a picture when she talks of the quaint little houses in the mountain lap with their colourful tops, or hilltop castles, adding that beautiful human element to the country’s beauty.
However, there was another kind of love for the world that was slowly stirring in her – the love for wildlife. And it was a visit to Ranthambhore and Gir in the nineties that awakened her apparently dormant interest in wildlife.
Sometime in 2013, Nalini decided that she wanted to sharpen her photography skills, and so chose to do a Toehold Workshop the same year. Soon, she was also a part of the Photography Tour to Kenya that very year, and has been a part of several photography expeditions with the company ever since.
“My husband’s love for photography proved to be infectious and we had travelled to many a national park in India on our own but weren’t able to come back with memorable sightings,” recalls Nalini.
“But it was when we began journeying into the wild with the experts of Toehold that we were able to not only see diverse wildlife but also make lovely images of them for keepsake.”
She loves Ranthambhore for tiger sightings, and Bandhavgarh and Kanha for the beauty of the forests – both in summer and winter.
Nalini wishes to visit and continue to make images in Iceland and Svalbard in the near future. Her diverse taste in wildlife, landscape and history has made her art that much more interesting for herself and for those with whom she shares her work. We wish her the very best!