From Dental Dreams to Nature’s Lens: The Story of Photographer Arun Kumar Nalimela

From Dental Dreams to Nature’s Lens: The Story of Photographer Arun Kumar Nalimela

Showcase is an effort by 58Miles to bring beautiful journeys of some of the amazing photographers of India & aboard . You will read about their journey , techniques , style and can see the outcome of their art in stunning frames. We asked them some questions to deep dive in to space and here we are....

Introducing 58Miles showcase photographer  Arun kumar Nalimela from Bhupalpally 

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in photography?

I come from a middle-class family and have always aimed to pursue a career in medicine. My father and brother shared a deep interest in photography. Despite three attempts at securing an MBBS seat, I only managed to get a BDS seat, a field I had no passion for. At that time, I was keen to pursue photography, but my family insisted I complete my BDS degree first, promising that I could follow my passion afterward.

During my first year of college, everything went smoothly. However, in my second year, I failed my practical exams and had to wait six months to retake them. It was during this period of waiting that my friend, Kadali Vijay, surprised me with a Canon 700D camera as a gift. This marked the beginning of my photography journey, which initially started with my Samsung S6 and later an iPhone X.

As a dental student, my days were primarily consumed by college, but I dedicated my evenings to exploring nature and capturing moments with peacocks and various bird species. The more I explored, the more diverse birdlife I encountered. During those six months, I immersed myself in the world of photography, learning the basics and honing my skills. My dedication did not go unnoticed; eventually, my college professors began to support my passion as well.

Those six months were transformative, allowing me to forget my academic struggles and find solace in photography. The support I received from my professors further fueled my enthusiasm, and I continued to balance my dental studies with my newfound love for capturing the beauty of the natural world.

What inspires your photography, and how do you choose your subjects or themes?

The inspiration behind my photography is my brother, Nalimela Kiran Kumar. If he had continued pursuing photography, he would have undoubtedly become one of the best. However, due to family struggles and his responsibilities as the eldest, he chose to prioritize taking care of our family. Sometimes, I feel that my brother is living his dream through me.

In the beginning, I started photographing birds and farmers in the surrounding areas. As I delved deeper into photography, I began to capture a wider variety of subjects. Documenting festivals, wildlife, and nature brought me recognition and acclaim. Despite this, my passion remains rooted in capturing people, culture, wildlife, and nature through my lens.

What has been your most memorable photography project or shoot, or any inspiring story around it, and why?

My most memorable photograph is of a lioness. At the time, I was brimming with confidence about the picture. I came across a wildlife photography competition and exhibition and decided to participate. When I arrived, I asked if I could still submit my photo. They told me I could, so I showed them my picture.

As soon as they saw it, they took it straight to the judges. A moment later, they returned and apologized, saying that the submission date had passed. I couldn't understand why they had such a reaction to my photo. Immediately after informing me that I couldn't submit my entry, they announced the winning images. I was deeply disappointed.

One of the judges approached me afterward and said, "The winners were already declared, but your picture is incredibly strong. Don't be disheartened—you will have other opportunities."

I went back home and uploaded the picture on Instagram. That same day, my family insisted I pursue a Master’s degree in Canada. Feeling disheartened, I considered deleting all my social media apps. However, the very next day, I received an incredible surprise: my photograph was featured by National Geographic. It was a clear sign to keep going and never give up.

What is your photography kit ? or we would say, what is in your camera bag? 

My Camera Bag consists of:

Sony Alpha 7R3 Camera 

35mm f1.8 Sony Lens

70-200mm f4 lens

200-600mm f5.6 lens 

Mavic mini 3 pro drone 

Insta Ace Pro

M1 MacBook Pro

3 Batteries, Rain Cover, An Umbrella and  A hard disk.

What advice would you give to photographers who are just starting out and looking to make a name for themselves?

For photographers who are just starting out and looking to make a name for themselves, here is some advice from me:

Learn the basics of photography, don’t bother about the gear in the initial days.

Shoot daily, and keep visiting the same places more often and try to make a new picture out of it.

The more you shoot, the better you’ll become. Make it a habit to take your camera everywhere and capture as many moments as possible. Consistent practice is key to improvement.

Success in photography doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, dedication, and resilience. Stay patient, keep improving your skills, and persist through challenges.

Participating in photography competitions can provide exposure and help you gain recognition. Even if you don’t win, the experience and feedback can be invaluable.

While it’s important to learn from others, always stay true to your unique perspective and style. Authenticity will set you apart from the crowd.

You can find Nalimela Arun kumar on :

Instagram : arunkumarnalimela