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Bitten by the shutterbug

Ramgopal has captured the wilds of Ranthambore and Bandipur in his celebrated frames. He has a huge collection of books on photography. The master photographer talks of his passion for the lens.

Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

BY THE BOOK: Ramgopal has an extensive collection of books and literature on photography.

THE EYE is focussed. The aperture is adjusted and the subject is composed. "Pose please," a click, and you have captured the moment for posterity. Photography is more than a science, it is a vision to visualise, an art to see and a perception in itself. But for which, treasured moments in life would have been long-lost memories that fade into oblivion.

Mention photography and the mind will conjure up glossy, wonderful images of beautiful people. Enter M. Ramgopal, who is as much into photography as Sachin Tendulkar is into cricket or maybe a little bit more. A man, who promises to change your belief that photography is just about people.

"The best pictures in the world are wildlife pictures amidst natural settings," the sexagenarian master photographer from the city says. Ramgopal has over 50,000 rare pictures shot in the wild to his credit.



WORTH THE WAIT: It takes patience for the perfect shot.

"From the Ranthambore tiger sanctuary to the Bandipur bird sanctuary, I have patiently waited for several weeks in sanctuaries across the length and breadth of the country to get a shot. Now, when I look back objectively, I realise it hasn't all been a cakewalk. A lot of toil, patience, hard work and, above all, the ubiquitous factor of luck has gone into the making of a picture," he observes.

"To get a beautiful model to pose for you is easy but the credence lies in making a tiger or a lion or a wild pea-fowl pose before your lens. And when you finally get the shot for which you have waited for years, your joy is boundless. It is inexplicable, a kind of divine rhapsody that eludes definition," Ramgopal explains.

Ramgopal's work has been featured in the HUDA annual calendar and several other almanacs of reputed business and private firms, including wildlife journals. Another claim to fame is Ramgopal's collection of books and literature on photography, which is perhaps the most extensive in the city. "I have painstakingly collected from around the globe," Ramgopal says, adding, he has about 10,000 publications dating back to 1902 and before.

"I have an undated Urdu chronicle on photography that was published in Pakistan, which is one of my atypical collections," he proudly proclaims. Ramgopal is generous with his collection and the books are kept in his school of photography at Chikkadpally, free for anybody to peruse to understand the nuances of the art.



HIGH PERCH: Over 50,000 rare pictures were shot in the wild.

Six cupboards chock-a-block with handpicked books would satiate the most zealous seeker of knowledge on photography. "Hundreds of people have benefited from my library and if my passion can be of some use to society, my purpose is served."

His devotion towards photography is so ardent, that after his 10-to-5 government job, he teaches photography to interested youngsters. "I have taught at least a 1,000 students till now, all of whom are now well placed," he says.

Like a true master, Ramgopal is disarmingly modest as he says, "Photography is an ocean and I am just a small drop in it."

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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