One of the most rewarding aspects of being in this business is getting to know some incredible creators. We recently spoke with Sapna Reddy, a California-based photographer who also happens to be a radiologist, on what inspires her and what she's working on now.
Reddy on a shoot with her Kiboko Camera Backpack
How did you get started in photography?
Have always been drawn to the outdoors and love to explore new places. I picked up a camera in 2011 and started documenting my adventures. I had no idea at that time that the journey would lead me to creative expression through my photographs.
What was the first camera you ever owned? and what are you shooting with these days? If you had to pick one lens, which would it be?
My first dSLR camera was Nikon d90. Before that I used point and shoot Canon and Olympus. I received the d90 as a birthday gift and that launched my career in photography. Currently I shoot with Sony a7riii and a7riv. A few years back I decided to switch to the mirrorless system and the choice to go with Sony was an obvious one. At that time Sony had already gone through iterations and fine tuned the mirrorless system. The other companies were just getting started. If I had to choose a single favorite lens it would be the Sony 100-400 mm f 4.5-5.6 GM. Being able to isolate an image from the expansive scene in front of me is deeply satisfying for me. I like the lighter weight in comparison to f2.8 lenses. It would however be difficult for me to confine myself to a single lens. Being able to convey a sense of depth using wide angle lenses is a significant part of my creative process.
Where are you currently based?
I live in California and am completely in love with the diversity and immense beauty of the landscapes in this region.
What are some of your favorite places to photograph and why?
I feel truly fortunate living within a short distance of Yosemite National Park. It is my place of Zen and I often find myself exploring the lesser known parts of this park. I am in complete awe of the Redwood forests of Northern California and love to photograph these timeless giants.
Who are some photographers that have inspired you and/or continue to?
There are three distinct types of photography I am drawn to. Grand scenes with dramatic light, small scenes that focus on the details and minimalistic photography where the emphasis is simplicity and serenity. I admire Marc Adamus for his spirit for adventure and creative vision in post processing. Guy Tal inspires me with his ability to focus on the art form creating intimate landscapes and being completely immune to the influence of social media. Benjamin Everett is a huge inspiration for me with his painterly soothing images plucked purely from his imagination.
What or where inspires you next?
I am one of those people who is very easily inspired by nature. From the scintillating beauty of a tiny dew drop balancing on a leaf to glorious sun rays beaming on to the landscape, I feel surrounded by miracles during periods of quiet observation that foster deep admiration for nature.
What do you look for when creating a photograph? Do you go in any order like "light, subject, composition, action" or is it a different process?
My goal is to create meaningful photographs. Images that are a result of my personal connection to that moment in time and the specific location. I hope that special connection is also experienced by the viewer when looking at the images. I do not have any set formula, algorithm or even expectation. Instead prefer to let the picture come to me as a result of quiet observation. Creating compelling images I feel requires visual balance as well as strong visual pathway.
How would you define your style of photography?
The basic impetus to image creation for me was to indulge in visual therapy both for me as an artist and for my viewer. My style of photography is a celebration of the beauty of nature spirit of adventure and the profound therapeutic effect of establishing a connection to the outdoors.
How does photography play into your daily life? Do you have any specific practices on taking breaks or compartmentalizing?
I am currently pursuing a dual career. As a radiologist I analyze gray scale images to establish diagnosis and direct treatment for the maladies of the body. As a photographer I balance my life with incorporation of color, light and sound that convey the beauty of nature and aspire to create images that help to heal the mind.
What are some of the most interesting changes in photography that you've observed over your career?
Being in an environment where art is shared instantly and globally, I have seen a rising trend for appreciation of unique perspectives. I find it interesting that intimate landscapes are considered as creative expression - a label that is now not associated with conventional landscapes. There also seems to be a rising acceptance of heavily digitally manipulated images and at the same time a deeper sense of appreciation for the "natural" look. Given the large global audience within easy reach and the fact that art is subjective there is now probably a bigger platform for diverse creative styles.
How far do you go to capture a truly unique moment? and what is the craziest thing you've done to capture a photograph?
It is easy to get lost in the moment when pursuing an art form that one is passionate about. Unknowingly sometimes you end up taking risks you did not plan or anticipate. I try to be aware of such behavior and avoid it as much as possible. However I do find myself constantly stepping out of my comfort zone to get that perfect shot. Whether it is wading through snake and alligator invested murky swamps, or hiking across slippery icy slopes or backpacking amidst wildlife predators, being in the wild has inherent risks. I try to educate myself, prepare appropriately and minimize the risk as much as possible.
Where can we find more of your work?
My website has select images primarily for art sales. Facebook, Instagram and Flickr are the primary social media channels where I showcase my work. Multiple medical centers and hospitals in Northern California have some of my images on display. I also work with the international art galley franchise Yellowkorner and showcase images in about 80 countries worldwide.
Can you tell us about the project(s) you're currently working on?
I am currently trying to put together a portfolio that showcases the diversity of the forests of North America. I hope to take an active role in Nature conservation by bringing awareness to the value these places hold for the future of our planet. I am also setting up photography workshops both within the country as well as internationally.