Ace aerial photographer Gopal Bodhe dead

IANS| Last Updated: May 17, 2014, 20:37 PM IST

Mumbai: India`s acclaimed aerial photographer Gopal Bodhe passed away following a heart attack while on a shooting assignment at Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand Saturday morning, his family here said.

Bodhe, 66, breathed his last around 6 a.m. He is survived by his wife Sudha and son Kaustubh.

Bodhe`s body will be brought to his Bandra residence in Mumbai by a special flight Sunday and his funeral is expected to be held later the same day.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan condoled the death of Bodhe describing him as "a top notch, yet humble professional".

"While serving in the Indian Navy, he carved a niche for himself with his superb aerial portrayal of lighthouse temples, forts and other subjects which he published in book form," Chavan said in his tribute.

Born in Sangli district, Bodhe started photography at the age of 10 as a means of livelihood in a small photo studio, and remained a passionate professional for the next 50 years.

Over the years, he pioneered and mastered the art and science of aerial and infra-red photography, considered the most challenging branches of this visual medium.

A few decades ago, while serving with the Indian Navy, he became the first Indian aerial photographer to fly twice over the entire country`s coastline for a photographic documentation and his works mesmerized the whole country.

"His photographs were technically perfect and aesthetically very pleasing, through which he expressed his love for the country, its historical background, nature, ecology, heritage and making it as a tool for education, and topographic documentation," said his close friend and naturalist Sameer Karve.

He used infra-red photography as a guide to assess the diseases of forests, pollution status, depths of water and other valuable scientific information.

"He shot practically all over the country, including Ladakh to document the Indus Valley, mountain ranges, rivers, temples, lakes, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands and other coastal areas. About two decades ago, when computer photography was unheard of, he combined 10 photos to make a single sprawling picture of Mumbai`s famed Marine Drive," Karve said.

Bodhe`s family launched Siddhishakti Publications and brought out unique collections of coffee table books of photography on various topics in English and other languages.