An exhibition is being held to raise funds at the Amethyst Cafe on Whites Road in Chennai.

A Chennai doctors passion for wildlife photography is funding his stem cell bank programme
news Feature Sunday, December 04, 2016 - 08:28
Written by  Pheba Mathew

In 2012, Dr P Srinivasan, Chairman of Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre, was in Africa. It was becoming increasingly difficult for him to keep their stem cell program running because of a lack of funds.

On the last day of his trip, he was driving back and saw a Pangolin on the streets. “My driver said that according to their culture, it was good luck,” he recalls. And good luck it was. “Right after that trip, I returned to India, and we started getting funds for the stem cell program,” he says.

Today, Dr Srinivasan is using the power of photography to seek funds for the stem cell bank program at Jeevan.

At the Amethyst Cafe on Whites Road in Chennai, elephants are proudly posing for a picture. Peacocks are showing off their beautiful colours and a lion is roaring in all its glory. All these pictures were taken by Dr Srinivasan for a photo exhibition.

The exhibition has been organized to raise funds for the stem cell bank, he says.

 “The cost of matching and processing the stem cells for a patient costs Rs 6,000 per person. We have provided free stem cells for eight patients and free HLA typing (used for matching the stem cells) for 26 patients,” he explains.

So here is how they plan to make money with the photographs to fund the stem cell bank.

“We are going to make all these pictures available online on We want 15,000 people to donate at least Rs 1,000 each, and whoever donates more than Rs 3,000, we will provide them a free picture with dimensions of 14x9 inches,” he says.

But this isn’t just about the stem cells and funding for Srinivasan. Behind the event, is his passion for photography.

Sharing his excitement with his listeners, he narrates an incident of an elephant that started towards him as he was photographing it, forcing him to jump into his jeep and leave. “But I got a good picture of an elephant.”

“The photographer needs to be sensitive and should be able to visualise and be imaginative. Animals don’t attack you, unless you do anything to them,” he adds.

For 20 years, between 1986 and 2006, Dr Srinivasan had stopped taking pictures due to official commitments. “In 2006, I took leave for few weeks due to health issues and began taking pictures again. I began by taking pictures outside my house, from peacocks to mongoose,” he recalls.

It is important to go to the wilderness every once in a while, he says, adding, “I travel to Africa once in a year to take pictures.”

His favorite photographs are wildscapes – Images with wildlife and landscape. “Most of the pictures are not pre-planned and it just happens. However, I decide whether the picture will be black-white or colour,” he says. 

At the exhibition, 29 images have been selected from the over 12,000 that he clicked between 2010 and 2016 in India and Africa. Sunday is the final day of the exhibition.