ABOUT NITIN MADHAV
Nitin Madhav was fortunate to travel as a young child and was struck by the disparities in people's circumstances and opportunities.
During college, his love of photography blossomed while backpacking in Bhutan with camera borrowed from his mother. After graduate school, he worked in the Afghan refugee camps outside Peshawar, Pakistan, armed with a Nikon camera and several dozen canisters of Kodachrome film in a ziploc bag. In the camps, he discovered that it was possible to engage meaningfully with people — despite language barriers — and preserve the moment through photography.
Over the past three decades, he has worked in countries struggling to recover from conflict and used photography to document human conditions. His travels have taken him around the world, and he now has a collection of faces and places in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. As a passionate conservationist, he recently turned to wildlife photography to showcase the magnificence of the Earth's creatures.
He lives in Washington, DC, and travels as much as possible. His photography has been published in Men's Health, Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveller UK, and Maptia. His portrait and landscape photography is on www.nitins.photos.
Nitin mastered the fundamentals of exposure, metering and composition with a manual film camera, but still shoots in manual mode to maintain a purity of process, even though he uses modern digital cameras now. He gets as close as he can to the subject to capture details, such as the individual hairs on a lion's face.
A conversation with two renowned artists who live a simple life in the Tanzanian bush was life changing — and profoundly affected the way that he thinks about, and processes his images.
He uses monochromes to highlight the beauty of these creatures and emphasize the interplay between light and shadows on skin and fur. His work is very minimally processed by converting the camera's files to black and white, to recreate the beauty of the rolls of Ilford B&W film he once used. (He doesn't actually know how to use Photoshop!) Thus, what you're seeing is a rendition in black and white of what the camera saw.
Nitin's work displays deep reverence for his subjects by capturing their souls by getting as close as possible, without disrupting, harming or baiting the animals. He works with guides who understand their behavior and will wait (sometimes for hours) for the subject to feel comfortable with his presence before he even picks up the camera.
Getting close to animals isn't always possible. Nitin works hard to find experienced, specialist guides who know the animals and their behavior. Nitin is very grateful to them for their patience, knowledge, and the occasional firm hand which has yanked him out of danger more than once.
(Please note — that the photograph above was only possible because the last northern white rhinos are habituated to humans. Nitin was working with their keeper who allowed him to get close. This is NOT recommended for wild animals.)