Poochi’s ladybirds & butterflies in a book
CHENNAI: In 1998, when S Venkataraaman ventured into the the Guindy forest area in search of Insects to photograph, the forest officials noticed something different about him. No matter what kind of animal or bird appeared, Venkataraaman seemed to focus only on the insects. Jokingly, they called him ‘Poochi’ Sir and Venkataraaman took it in jest. Nineteen years later, today he is known as ‘Poochi’ Venkat, Chennai’s insect man who has been photographing insects for over 25 years.
His bilingual book (Tamil and English),Insects — Guardians of Nature, was released on Wednesday at Amethyst amid an exhibition of his photographs, some of which are featured in the book. The book was released by Dr G Ravichandran, chief dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, and the first copy was received by S Muthiah, chronicler of Madras.
Talking about his passion for the insect world, S Venkataraaman said, “Insect photography needs immense patience and hardwork. One needs to be well versed in insect behaviour to get the perfect shot. For example, a dragon fly which likes waterbodies, tends to return to the same spot again and again and spiders rest when they are tired. The challenge is to do whatever is necessary to click the insect in its natural habitat, be it wading into a pond or crawling on all fours. Initially, I used to take tips from farmers as they knew when and where to find certain Insects. You tend to find plenty of insects near waterbodies. More insects come out at night than day, but it is impractical to shoot them without proper equipment.”
He uses different types of cameras, from DSLR to point and shoot. “With a heavier camera you are able to get quality shots but point-and-shoot cameras allow for better accessibility. Most of my pictures have been captured using point-and-shoot cameras,” he says. “You also don’t want to scare the insect with a big device. I have a pet theory that every insect has a blindspot which you can figure out from experience. So I approach different Insects from different angles. I also use my hand to distract an insect to get a good shot.”