Life Behind the Lens: Balan Madhavan

Balan MadhavanTo flag off our interview series – Life Behind the Lens -featuring well-known photographers, we got in touch with world renowned photographer Mr. Balan Madhavan – a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Balan is both an accomplished photographer and an inspiring teacher of the Art of Photography. He is known globally for his awe-inspiring work, specially in travel photography and wildlife and nature photography.

What drew you to photography?

My father was an amateur photographer, so I was exposed to washing film, darkroom and wet prints in my childhood. The process of dark images forming on a white paper soaked in chemical has always fascinated me. When I could save enough, I bought my first camera… in 1987.

Who or what is your inspiration?

I am drawn to “mother nature” since childhood. She is my first guru. When I started photography, there was no internet or smartphones. Books were my first teachers. I was also very inspired by the works of Frans Lanting, Thomas Mangelsen and Stephen Dalton…

One emerging trend in photography that we should look forward to?

In India, we have always been 50 years behind the rest of the world as far as art is concerned. While the rest of the world has accepted photography as an art form, we still connect it with the media and journalism. Fine art photography is just entering the Indian scenario and that’s what we should look forward to…

Which camera do you shoot with and is there a specific photography style that you like?

As a professional dealing with destinations, I have used all kinds of cameras during the film era; the Sinars, Hasselblads, Nikons etc.. Now, I remain simple.. I have my Canon DSLR system with 5DS as the primary camera and an array of lenses and gadgets from the Canon family.

A few words of wisdom for budding photographers?

If you are not ready to invest a lifetime and are not passionate about it, you cannot succeed as a photographer. Be patient and work hard. Do not lie or cheat. Once caught, you shall be branded as a dishonest artist for the rest of your life…

Social media is a good avenue for promoting your work.. but don’t fall for that. The top photographers of the world are NOT respected for the number of likes they manage to get on FB, but for their creativity and brilliance of thought and execution.

A favorite picture that you’d like to share?

Here is one, the Nilgiri Tahr peeping into my room.. It changed my life…

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