In a historic achievement, 23-year-old Aishwarya Sridhar became the first and the youngest Indian woman to win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in its competition for the adult photographers. Among 50,000 entries from 80 different countries, her name outshined as the winner of the title in the  Behaviour-Invertebrates category.

The award show was organised by the National Museum of History, London on October 13, 2020. This was the 56th year of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of The Year Award. Out of the 50,000 entries, 100 images and their photographers were awarded. Certainly, the competition was very tough. However, Sridhar’s unique photograph won her the Highly Commended Award under Behaviour-Invertebrates category in the competition. Her photograph, titled as ‘Light of Passion’, featured a tree with fireflies forming a starry galaxy in the sky. The photograph was taken during a trek in Bhandardara, in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

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Sridhar also expressed her delight and gratitude at the historic win on Twitter. She wrote, “A big moment for India and for me as a young wildlife photographer. Being the first and youngest girl to win this award from India in the Adult category, it’s a huge honour for me to receive this award !! Thank you to the entire Jury and WPY team.” You can see the tweet and the photograph that won her the award here:

Moreover, as per India Times report, Mr C Sukumaran said, “We are delighted to hear the news of Aishwarya becoming the first Indian woman to win at the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the adult category which witnesses touch competition year on year. We want to congratulate her on her win and hope to witness her winning many more such awards in the future.” Sukumaran is the director at Consumer System Products & Imaging Communication Products.

Born on January 12 1997, Sridhar hails from Panvel city of Maharashtra. A writer, wildlife photographer and filmmaker by profession, Sridhar was first introduced to photography at the age of 12. She used to accompany her father in forest treks and click photos of the site. Gradually, the childhood interest of clicking photos turned into a profession and now a global title. Apart from being an artist, Sridhar is also a conservationist. Her efforts and contribution in wetland conservation were awarded the Diana Award in 2019, organised by Princess Diana Foundation. Apart from these, Sridhar is a recipient of many other honours and awards. Here is a list:

  • Sanctuary Asia’s Young Naturalist Award (2011)
  • International Camera Fair Award in 2016
  • Woman Icon Award in 2019
  • Excellence in Short Film Award for the documentary ‘Panje- The Last Wetland’ at NexGen Short Film Festival in 2019
  • Best Amateur Film Award for the documentary ‘The Queen of Taru’ at New York Wildlife Film Festival in 2019

Picture Credit: msn.com/Aishwarya Sridhar Twitter

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