Connect Gujarat celebrated the World Social Media Day at The Social Conclave 2016 and we got to interview some of the speakers at the event. Here we publish our 1st interview that was been taken with Mr. Rohit Varma from Bangalore.
A nature and wildlife photography enthusiast, Rohit Varma’s inspiration for photography began right from his childhood. He believes that survival of humans is completely dependent on Nature and everyone must responsibly pitch in to conserve this beautiful world, something he spoke on at TEDx Bangalore in 2015 in a bid to inspire more people to join this fight.
His works have been featured in publications like BBC.com, Lonely Planet, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, SAEVUS, Smart Photography, Africa Geographic, Audubon.com, to name a few. He aims to raise awareness about wildlife conservation through his photography.
His day job is that of a marketing professional; he runs R SQUARE Consulting Services, a marketing services organisation based in Bangalore.
CG: What is Nature InFocus?
RV: Nature InFocus is Asia’s premier nature and wildlife photography festival. It is a platform for passionate nature and wildlife photographers and conservationists to showcase their work, learn from fellow photographers, discuss important and interesting topics, as well as build awareness in the community regarding nature conservation. The aim of Nature InFocus to explore, to respect, to protect and finally to celebrate nature.
CG: How did that idea click you?
RV: There are lots of online forums for photography but there are no events offline to meet like-minded people or to have discussions with senior photographers or mentors. Kalyan Varma ( co-founder) and I figured we should start this: a festival where nature lovers and photographers meet once in a year, showcase their work, get inspired, take action for conservation and even get recognised through Nature InFocus Photography Awards. So, Nature InFocus was born in March 2014.
CG: Why specifically wildlife and nature photography?
RV: Simply because we are nature and wildlife photographers and we felt we must own this responsibility to do something good for the community.
CG: What is the current status of NIF, I mean which countries are involved in the competitions?
RV: Every year the festival is attended by more than 500 participants, who visit from all over India. About the awards: We have received 2,565 images for this year’s competition, entries from UAE (Dubai, Qatar), Singapore, Russia, US, UK, Italy. It shows that now NIF Photography Awards has got international visibility and recognition.
CG: How much response do you get? Do you find it satisfactory?
RV: The growth of Nature InFocus is because of involvement of community. We are very happy with the progress. More and more nature lovers are getting to know about the festival and awards and every year we see increase in numbers.
CG: What are your plans for future for NIF?
RV: We have lots of plans. We would like to support one conservation initiative each year. We will reach out to schools, colleges and corporates to build awareness about importance of nature and give them suggestions on how they can contribute towards conservation. We are also planning to conduct meet-ups in other cities and taking initiatives on social media. Eg our #PlayDryHoli campaign was to build awareness about water conservation and the response that was vastly satisfying.
This interaction with Rohit during #TSC16 was valuable to us as we are the medium & platform that connects people and builds conversations through exceptional stories like Nature In Focus.