In the heart of India's most lush forests, amidst the echoing calls of the wild, there exists a fascinating convergence of raw nature and art, beautifully encapsulated through the lens of Varun Thakkar. Varun, a seasoned wildlife photographer and fervent conservationist, has made waves with his breathtaking portrayals of India’s captivating wildlife. In an exclusive interview, Varun unfolds the chapters of his intriguing journey, the inspirations behind his photographic venture, and his impassioned plea for conservation through visual storytelling. Let us traverse through his vivid experiences and insights that beckon us into the mystical realms of the wild he has intricately captured.
Retro Kolkata : Varun, your journey in wildlife photography has been fascinating. Can you share how and what influenced your interest in wildlife and led you to this field?
Varun : Thank you for the appreciation. I would say that I have always been inclined towards the wildlife and used to observe animals and various phenomenon in nature since childhood. In my growing up years I used to shoot with a point and shoot camera. The first task after coming back home used to be checking and assessing the images, and brainstorming over possibilities to make the images better. It gave me immense joy clicking the pictures and to experiment with compositions, light and shadows, angles, etc . It soon turned from a mere hobby to a passion from where there was no turning back. I got hooked onto the love for jungles and wildlife photography. Each new picture inspires me to click another and the affair continues….
Retro Kolkata : The 'call of the wild' in 2007 was a significant turning point for you. How has your style evolved since then?
Varun : I have been going to the jungles since many years before 2007 but it was in 2007 that I held my first DSLR camera in my hands and set out to pursue my passion dedicatedly. It was then that my tryst with wildlife photography began. I set out to photograph my subjects in different light conditions, started experimenting with compositions, documenting new species, visited different habitats and geographical locations for getting the desired shot.
I always visualize my shots before I click them. It may take minutes, months or years to achieve that but persistency is the key and I have always been rewarded. I can safely say that my style may have evolved drastically over the years and might have changed as I photograph different species in different habitats; yet there is so much to learn. Each time I am in the jungle, I learn something new. My idea is to showcase the beauty of nature- raw, uncut and in it’s pristine form.
Retro Kolkata : As an entrepreneur and a wildlife photographer, how do you balance your professional responsibilities with your passion for exploring the wild?
Varun : That’s a difficult question indeed. I escape to the jungles as much as I can and whenever I can. Sometimes it is difficult to balance the two but the love for the jungle always takes over. I have in fact very recently set up a Camera rental company in the name and style of Nagpur Camera Rental apart from my family business of Insurance which allows me to be in the jungles and be more associated. It is indeed a pleasure to cater to the wildlife photographers in achieving their wildlife shots through our equipments, makes me feel a part of their journey as well.