The Snake Catcher and Composition


 

cobra

A Cobra that was rescued by ‘Snake Shivappa’ from JC Nagar after it had strayed into a residence in the locality. The Cobra weighed around 5 kilograms and was around 5 to 6 feet in length. © Nishant Ratnakar

 

Snake Shivappa, that isn’t his real name. But, in the competitive world of brands and markets, Devaraj  K  S, a snake catcher,  prefers to call himself by that name. I must admit, it has a strong recall value.

Some people say that Shivappa has rescued around 12,000 snakes from various corners of Bangalore city. This number cannot be an exaggeration. The city is ever-growing, and natural habitats are slowly making way for the wants of modernity. Hence, it is no surprise that man-versus-animal conflict takes place in large numbers here. The most visible of these conflicts in mainstream media would be the man-versus-elephant conflict, taking place in the periphery of the city. But, venomous snakes like Cobras do garner media attention when they stray into human habitat and vice versa.

With a pachyderm, the end of the conflict is most often a tragedy with loss of lives or property.  But, when it comes to snakes, thanks to  snake-catchers like Shivappa, the help is a phone call away. With timely intervention, both, the man and the reptile, get to stay alive.

I met Shivappa during an afternoon at Bangalore Press Club. He is a known face to most press photographers. The photographers have captured and published hundreds of images of the reptiles rescued by him.

In the highly competitive space of newspapers, how often do the unglamorous faces like Shivappa’s appear?

Very rare.

Advertisements keep newspapers alive. And newspapers need glamour and sensation to attract advertisers. This is especially true in cities like Bangalore. Hence, with every major ‘sensational’ rescue by him , Shivappa gets that rare opportunity to be seen in the newspapers. Unfortunately, the focus will always be on his ‘catch’ rather than him.

Who says photography always tells the truth? Can photography not be biased?

At the heart of photography, lies the ‘composition of a frame’. Composition is the ultimate political decision one can make in their lives. In composition, we include within a tiny rectangle (or square), a subset of the world that we see. What is to be included in this rectangle would seem important for the photographer. But, what is left out and unseen by the eventual viewer of the image, isn’t that important too? Isn’t it a political decision to leave certain things behind?

Did I just show you the absolute truth? You saw the Cobra, but you didn’t see Shivappa…

cobra

‘Snake Shivappa’ with a Cobra rescued from JC Nagar after it had strayed into one of the residence in the locality. The Cobra weighed around 5 kilograms and was around 5 to 6 feet in length. © Nishant Ratnakar

Maybe, Shivappa survives the composition test of photographers. But, there is no guarantee that he’ll survive being cropped out of images, when the pages get designed by a different set of people.

Shivappa says, that he has no permanent job despite his decade long work. He survives on whatever is given to him by the people who call him up to capture snakes from their homes. He adds, that there is no fixed income in every rescue. At times, the people who call him are the ones who struggle to make a living themselves.

Shivappa asked me if I can put his number in the newspaper so that people can call him. But, that would be an advertisement. I couldn’t promise him that… But, I promised to get his number out to the rest of the world, at least through my blog. So, here it is.

Name: Snake Shivappa (Devaraj K S)

Occupation: Snake Catcher

Contact: 9980855720

Area of operations: Any corner of Bangalore city!

shivappa

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Nishant Ratnakar
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Nishant Ratnakar

Photographer | Visual Storyteller at www.nishantratnakar.com
Nishant is a Bangalore, India based Wedding, Portrait & Editorial Photographer. He is available for assignments across India. He also conducts photography workshops and offers personal photography mentorship.
Nishant Ratnakar
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14 Comments on "The Snake Catcher and Composition"

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Www Arvindsahu
Guest

Nice article. Thanks for sharing. 

Guest

Hi Arvind. Do share his number around.
Regards,
Nishant

Guest

Hi Arvind. Do share his number around.
Regards,
Nishant

Deepa Mohan
Guest

Could I please put these details on my blog at Citizen Matters, a Bangalore e-magazine? Please let me know. =Deepa Mohan.

nishant
Guest

Hi Deepa,
What exactly do you want put on your blog from my site? If it is Shivappa’s details, then please share it on your blog too.
Regards,
Nishant

Raghavendra
Guest

Verry Good work, we will definitely call him if we required but a great thx to u for this valuable information .

Arathi
Guest

Dear Sir,

When I called this person, he said he cannot help as the snake was still inside the ant hill …and when it comes out and enters anybody’s house then only he can come and rescue. My fear was that the area ppl might destroy the anthill and kill the snake!

Guest

Hi Arathi,
Since the anthill is the natural habitat of the snake, the snake catchers cannot intervene. If you believe/suspect that people in your locality might cause harm to anthill and the snake, then I suggest that you reach out to the forest department. As far as I know, it is not legal to destroy anthill located in public area. Please do contact forest department.

Guest

HI Arathi,
I hope you are following the comments here. I am asking my friends and contacts whether they know how to resolve this issue taking into account forest and wildlife laws in India. I hope someone gets back with a solution your problem.

Guest

Hi Arathi,
Since the anthill is the natural habitat of the snake, the snake catchers cannot intervene. If you believe/suspect that people in your locality might cause harm to anthill and the snake, then I suggest that you reach out to the forest department. As far as I know, it is not legal to destroy anthill located in public area. Please do contact forest department.

Guest

HI Arathi,
I hope you are following the comments here. I am asking my friends and contacts whether they know how to resolve this issue taking into account forest and wildlife laws in India. I hope someone gets back with a solution your problem.

Himangshu
Guest

Hi Nishant,

Can you help identify this snake

Few weeks back, while I was playing golf a snake fell on my shoulder and then fell on the ground and ran away to the woods..while I consider myself very lucky to survive the scare…I would like to know if it was a venomous snake..I have attached the picture I which I managed to capture as it was going away..

Please let me know which breed of snake is this

nagesh
Guest

Hii , I m Nagesh. Whn u r stand in front of death only, v knw d value of life. It was around 10.45 on 30th Sep 2014, we saw a snake in our hme. It’s our luck that we got Mr. Shivappa’s # ..within 30 min, he came…. Vry vry Thanks to him. He had given many information abt snakes n given assurance that it wl also safe in forest.. it’s really gud wrk from him. Thanks a lot again Mr. Shivappa.

Anand Shankar
Guest

Thank you Very much Nishant because of this blog I saved one snake out side from my house, Shivappa came and rescue snake and promised he will place the snake safely in forest.
My main concern is snake catcher are not coming the snake outside the house almost three people denied to come only Shivappa came saved the snake that also after telling lie that the snake is inside the house. Thanks to Shivappa

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