From jungles to the city: Lankan wilds in perfect symphony

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“Wildlife photography shouldn’t be about the ego that is attached to it. It isn’t about the equipment we use, or how many more animals we see compared to others. It is about our connection with nature” – these words truly echo through the pages of ‘Symphony of Serendib’ – the coffeetable book to be launched by wildlife photographer Erich Joseph.

Erich Joseph

“Symphony of Serendib” is Erich’s first book and will be launched at his maiden photography exhibition to be held from November 29 to December 1 at the Harold Peiris Gallery of the Lionel Wendt. Erich who works in the IT field always felt the urge to explore nature and capture its unique moments in his spare time. He bought his first camera in 2007 and his first DSLR camera in 2010 when he began taking his photography seriously.

The book contains over 200 pages that feature not only a wide array of animals, but also some breathtaking scenes of different wildernesses across Sri Lanka. He has a particular passion for birds, tuskers and leopards, but these attractive animals are interspersed with species like frogs, mantises, spiders, lizards, insects and other creatures that are often overlooked. Like a master musician who has skills to build his symphony over little things, Erich captures these usually non-charismatic animals from different angles giving the viewer fresh perspectives. A common bird like the Red-vented Bulbul looks like a ballet dancer performing in the rain to his symphony. Of note are his photos of the elusive leopard in Horton Plains and many rare migratory birds – even from the city of Colombo.

The Symphony of Serendib follows a geographical trail starting from the central hills  mainly featuring Horton Plains and then moving down to Haputale, Ella to the Sinharaja rainforest. He then showcases photographs taken in Uda Walawe, and moves to Galgamuwa, Kalawewa, Wilpattu and Yala.

Writing the foreword of the book, veteran wildlife photographer Namal Kamalgoda states that the cross-section of images from the highest regions of our country down to the coast, showcasing the diversity in location and subjects is remarkable. There is also a refreshing array of landscapes, often ignored by wildlife photographers, but Erich has the eye not to miss them. “One of my favourite images is of the Ghost Crabs, like a wall of aliens. Even a shrew and a mouse have been represented in the book and there are lot more ‘small stuff’ like this to enjoy,” Kamalgoda writes.

The innocent eyes of a leopard cub

In his book, Erich shares the painstaking efforts and sometimes disappointments he had to bear in capturing these unique photographs.

There is sadness to his symphony as a number of his favourite tuskers that he photographed had been killed and their memories are restricted to photographs.

The book contains several black and white photographs particularly featuring leopards and elephants. “Black and white can bring an artistic touch, giving character to otherwise a pretty ordinary photograph,” says Erich.

The coffee table book ‘Symphony of Serendib’ is priced at 8,500 but visitors to the exhibition can purchase it for the special price of Rs.6,000.

The Symphony of Serendib exhibition is open to all.

Ghost Crabs, like a wall of aliens – Chundikulam beach

 A mossy labyrinth – Horton Plains National Park

Comb ducks in Colombo

Elephants in Kalawewa – Black & White adds an artistic blend  

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