As a child, Sandesh was not allowed anywhere near his dad Dr BN Vishwanath’s Nikkormat camera.
Bengaluru-based wildlife film maker and conservational photographer Sandesh Kadur is no stranger to us. Not only was he a part of Asia’s first National Geographic
Explorers Festival but he has been making his presence felt in the conservation arena with many a project. Sandesh has a new project Our Planet that will be released on Netflix in April next year. This new series will highlight some of the world’s most epic and conservation stories.
As a child, Sandesh was not allowed anywhere near his dad Dr BN Vishwanath’s Nikkormat camera. “He slowly allowed me to use the camera — one roll of film for a week-long trip. Since I could take only 36 pictures, I was very selective on what to shoot. Nature, landscape and wildlife were what I reserved the camera for.
Photography started as a tool to document the natural world around me, and slowly morphed from being simply scientific to including elements of art,” he shares saying that he was inspired by the works of National Geographic photographers like Michael Nick Nichols and Frans Lanting for their ability to bring images to life.
His path to filmmaking was not a direct one, as Sandesh had to grapple with failing high school, and even dropping out of college. “I owe a lot to my professor — director of the field station programmes Lawrence Lof for guiding me towards this path, and this journey, by buying me my very first digital video camcorder and a tripod. He set me off on this crazy adventure of becoming a documentary filmmaker. What started as a three-month project, ended up being a three year-long affair of being in the Western Ghats and learning how to make a film — all on my own, with very little help and direction,” says Sandesh. His next project to be released for Netflix, Our Planet was narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
It promises to be an incredible series highlighting the world’s most epic and conservation stories. Sandesh explains, “The series will create immense awareness about little known species, and some known species. The audience will now have a way of learning more about the species, and perhaps even figure out ways to aid conservation action in the field on the ground.” Sandesh was honoured to be the cameraman for this epic project. On what went into the making of this series he adds, “Like any epic series — a lot of research, planning, contemplation, re-contemplation and collaboration goes into bringing the series a full circle.”
On how every individual can right the wrong that we have done to the planet, the activist photographer adds, “Each individual has a choice in their every day life — choices of what they buy, what they eat and how sensitively they can live each day by making choices for a better planet. One simple thing that one can ask themselves is plastic or planet – What’s your choice?” Sandesh has won a bevy of awards, like the National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Infosys — Young Achiever of the Year Award–India, North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA) — Vision Award and many others to his credit. He recently spoke at Asia’s first National Geographic Explorers Festival — Evening of Exploration which was held in Hong Kong.
“Grantees from all over came in to present their work and be a part of this big event,” adds Sandesh who is busy wrapping up his current documentary series for National Geographic.