The Human Interpretation of Wildlife Stories: Samyukth Sridharan

Samyukth Sridharan – a man who has stories to tell, with a wit that engages a listener. His photographic journey was triggered by a tiger tail, he says and chuckles, and before you recover from a giggle, he resumes:…

“It all happened on a safari in Ranthambhore about five years ago, when I spotted a tiger. By the time I picked up my point-and-shoot camera to capture it in a frame, the tiger moved out of sight and all that remained in the photo was its tail and its gorgeous curve! That’s when I decided that I need to learn how to gather my senses and start making images with a better camera.”

Perhaps it’s a dream that every other kid dreams: to be a pilot, to fly. Mr Sridharan wasn’t an exception.  And although he didn’t become a pilot when he grew up, his fascination for flying and how it symbolised freedom stayed intact all throughout, eventually manifesting in a related but different way: an enthusiasm for watching and photographing birds in their vivacious hues.

Just when Mr Sridharan was looking for a way to hone his new found interest in photography, he was introduced to Toehold by a friend, and it was a watershed moment.

In his own words: “The luminous nuances of photography quite startled me when I attended the Toehold Photography Workshop. I wondered how to best implement what I had learned and that’s when I decided to go on the Bharatpur Photography Tour.


Pelican and Cormorants
© Samyukth Sridharan


“It was only when the avian beauty confronted my hungry eyes, and when the Toehold Skipper constantly instructed us to make the most of a sighting by first thinking and then reacting with the camera, that I began to savour the delicate intricacies of the art of photography.”

Mr Sridharan says what he enjoys the most about bird photography tours is that they allow him to walk about and make different perspectives, and the freedom he enjoys while capturing the beauty of the creatures that symbolise freedom itself.


© Samyukth Sridharan


The sheer act of birds flying fills Mr Sridharan with an unbearable joy, a joy that increases by many folds when he puts his mind to learning more about their natural behaviour. And for this, he plans to explore more of northeastern and southern India, and other off-beat places in India.

Samyukth’s passion for birds has been so infectious that his little daughter has taken a liking for watching them closely and taking their pictures as well. Their family trips now, unlike before, thus involve more of natural elements than golfing and other activities, he asserts. He beams when he says that his daughter, Krti, has graced him with the honour of teaching her.


Lion, Gir
© Samyukth Sridharan


On an appreciative note, Mr Sridharan mentions how technically sound, well-informed and aware of wildlife and photography Toehold Skippers are. He remarks that it’s almost incredible how even their critical analysis of photographs are constructive and motivating. The way they bring out the human perspective of understanding wildlife without affecting the latter is something that inspires him.

Asked about how he sees photography now, Mr Sridharan places prominence on thought and planning, and how photography is about ‘making’ pictures and not merely ‘taking’ them.  He stresses that each photo should tell the observer a story and put them in the very moment in which it was made.


Ashy Bulbul
© Samyukth Sridharan


“Most of all, every art form soaks in glory in the very process of its making, and to that precise extent, the journey itself becomes the crux of an end product and holds it all together.” We think that that’s the way one must be left thinking.



Samyukth Sridharan
Samyukth Sridharan


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