Kamesh Vemuri, Chief Financial Officer at ValueLabs, is a passionate photographer. As we get talking to the soft-spoken gentleman, he unveils the keen visual artist in him. He is no nonchalant, laidback, indoor person. Au contraire, during the course of his journey as a photographer, he has, many a time, focused his lens on several awe-inspiring carnivores in their natural habitat. Playing adventurer with the wild seems to give him a high!
Kamesh counts wildlife, street life, flora and fauna as his favorite subjects. As we browse through his collection of photographs, he comes across as an intuitive photographer with a strong sense of color and composition. It was in 2010 that his love for birds and wildlife got much more intense, with the purchase of his first DSLR. It was then that he started observing nature and its inhabitants that much more closely through his lens. And slowly but surely, he took to them and their world.
Kamesh shows me a striking picture of a lambaadi (a tribal woman) adorned in intricate ornaments, almost glaring at the camera. She is a far cry from commercial models – she doesn’t look for approval from her photographer. She is least concerned about having an audience who will cherish her many poses. It seems that he caught a fleeting moment and her momentary expression just in time.
The lensman recounts how he has a ball on the streets during bonalu, the harvest festival of the Telanganites, every year. He feverishly clicks turmeric-smeared faces of devout women carrying bonam, pots of traditional foliage and flower offerings to the Mother Goddess, on their heads, and potharajus, men dancing away in tiger costumes with their tongues sticking out in the processions that head to various devi temples in the city. His eye for detail is evident from how he shot the human interactions and visual patterns at the morning bazaar at Dal Lake, Srinagar. Life there happens on life boats!
The human faces that dot his photographs tell stories. Kamesh says, showing me pictures of feisty, swirling folk dancers he clicked during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival: “I enjoy street photography because you have to capture the right moment. Initially, one tends to adhere to the rules of composition more purposefully like the one-third rule. Later, it comes naturally to you. And there are times when you have to let go of technique to be quick enough to click something from a great angle, or capture a fleeting expression on someone’s face. It’s a chance you take.” “You can’t have this level of spontaneity in fashion photography,” he adds.
Speaking passionately about his love for wildlife photography, Kamesh reveals: “Working with wildlife is even more challenging. At times, you have to wait for a glimpse of a tiger or a bird in a sanctuary for long periods of time during the day. I usually travel with other enthusiasts, and we observe the behavior of the wildlife in the area for a day before starting work.”
Kamesh is part of the Andhra Pradesh Photographic Society. Reminiscing his memorable experiences, he says: “We shot at Kothagudem forest in Khammam. One early morning, we shot a tiger crossing our path and another time, a lion roaring. I have also shot migratory birds at ICRISAT in Hyderabad.” Although he is also an avid photographer of architecture, he admits that nothing beats capturing life in the wild. “We have shot at Ramappa temple in Warangal and Kharujaho in Madhya Pradesh. However, working on monuments and scenic landscapes only involves getting the lighting and angle right. I find my work revolving wildlife a lot more exciting,” he says. As Kamesh speaks, he shows me photographs from Jim Corbett National Parkin Nainital. In the city, his favorite haunt is Sanjeevaiah Park for its varied avian life.
Today, Kamesh works either with a digital camera or a 40 mm SLR camera, although, he has worked a little with analog cameras initially. It all started as a fun activity during his school days, and he had been an ardent photographer for more than three decades now.
It comes as no surprise to know that Kamesh’s work has been accepted at various national and international photography salons, chief among them being the 1st International Salon of Projected Images held by the Photographic Association of Coochbehar, and 3rd Asansol International Digital Salon held by Photographic Society of Asansol. The zesty photographer has also won the second prize at the 10th Digital Photography Contest held by the Federation of Indian Photography in 2012.