"I want to capture the drama of the jungle."
She's just a regular 17 year old, a college student in Bangalore. She’s studying science. She takes photos. Oh and also, she’s recently become one of the youngest members of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), Great Britain.
Prakruti P Kumar is on her way towards becoming one of Bangalore’s standout young achievers. Her talent has gotten her recognition from the prestigious RPS, UK. She talks to us about her future plans and why she likes wildlife photography.
When did you first realise you’re interested in photography? What was your first picture?
I was 14 years old when I first picked up a camera and decided to take up photography as a hobby. I always wanted to become a photographer because I had seen my father, H.V. Praveen Kumar’s pictures and was totally amazed by the beauty of the forest. That is when I realized that I was really interested in photography.
A small bird called Ashy Prinia had built a nest in the house of C.R. Sathyanarayana, a friend of my father. It was a winter morning and so the sun hadn't come up till about 8. We had to wait very patiently till we got the right light. I shot my first picture of that bird with a Nikon D-300 camera.
Do you intend to take up wildlife photography professionally?
Right now I want to keep it as a hobby. I want to continue with my education first but after graduation I may consider taking it up as a profession.
Who are your role models? Who do you look up to in the field of wildlife photography?
My first role model is my father. I have grown up seeing his images. My other favourite photographers are C. Rajagopal, T.N.A. Perumal, B.Srinivas and also Jill Sneesby.
Do you have any professional training in photography?
No, but my father, an internationally renowned photographer, has been my teacher, guide and source of encouragement. He used to tell me when to click and when not to, how to compose the image, how to make use of the light and other technicalities that are involved.
After every shoot he sits with me, points out the mistakes and also appreciates the good images. This really boosts my confidence and zeal to shoot more. I have also been associated with the prestigious Photographic Club Of Bangalore - Youth Photographic Society; where I get an opportunity to interact with various reputed photographers.
We've noticed that most of your photos have some or the other action happening.
I mainly want to capture the drama of the jungle. I believe that pictures should speak for themselves, so I wait for such opportunities and take action-oriented pictures that need no explanation.
Which was your first camera?
I shot my first picture with a Nikon D-300. But later on I started using Nikon D-200. Now I use Nikon D-300s. Since cameras nowadays tend to become obsolete very soon, I don’t have any dream camera as such. But would love to own a high-end camera.
How did you manage to become a member of the Royal Photographic Society, UK? What was the process?
My father is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. So my first introduction to the Society was through him. Anyone can become a member of the Society and apply for its distinctions. There is no age limit. There are various categories to which one can apply. The distinction is given based on a set of 15 pictures. If those pictures are of International standard i.e. the composition, the lighting, the quality of the pictures is good, then the distinction is awarded.
The quality of the prints plays a major role. For this I must thank B. Srinivas, who is well known for his quality printing. He helped me select the pictures and also printed those 15 pictures, which I sent for my Associateship. One has to become a member of the Society first to apply for the distinctions.
You're one of the youngest members of the RPS, UK. Before this achievement, did you ever think that your photos were that good?
Since I started photography, I have been participating in various national and international competitions. I have also bagged some awards and certificates of merit. I received appreciation and encouragement from senior photographers and that made me believe that my photos were quite good.
How will this recognition help, going forward?
This recognition means a lot to me. The support and encouragement shown by the Society members is just too overwhelming. It has strengthened my confidence. It has given me the spirit to never stop clicking pictures.
What locations have you shot at?
I have clicked pictures at Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary, Kokkere Bellur, Hessarghatta, Tadoba and Andhari Tiger Reserve and Daroji Bear Sanctuary.
What / where do you plan to shoot next?
I want to shoot more some more mammals. So I’m planning to visit different forests of India to shoot. I also want to try doing some street photography.
Any dream locations for clicking your photos?
I think India is the best place a wildlife photographer can ask for. Its diverse variety of creatures provides a unique opportunity to every photographer. I also want to visit Africa and capture the beauty of its jungles.
What are your other interests apart from photography?
Apart from photography, I'm interested in sports, dance and music. I’m a trained classical dancer and a classical musician.
The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) is the world's oldest national photographic society and the oldest in continual existence since its foundation. It was founded in London, United Kingdom in 1853 as The Photographic Society of London with the objective of promoting the Art and Science of Photography. It offers various levels of distinctions in all aspects of photography and an Imaging Scientist qualification.
The Society is a registered charity with a Royal Charter. It also acts as a national voice for photographers, and for photography more generally, and it represents these interests on a range of governmental and national bodies dealing with areas as diverse as copyright and photographers' rights.