Surajkund-based wildlife photographer Arfin Zukof wants Delhiites to discover the beauty of Indian and African jungles and their magnificent inhabitants at his ongoing solo weeklong exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi.
Speaking about his fourth exhibition titled “The Other Side” which opened for the public this week, this entrepreneur-cum-photographer who travelled to Ranthambhore National Park, Corbett National Park and African jungles to pursue his passion for wildlife says the basic objective behind hosting the exhibition of black-and-white and colour pictures was to weave a comprehensive story for the layman who has preconceived notion about creatures of the wild including the big cats.
“Unfortunately, quite a few people in our cities have a vague idea about creatures of the wild. These art driven pictures of tigers and elephants highlight their power and strength and the skills they deploy to survive in their own environment every day,” he says.
Arfin asserts his pictures taken from 2009 to this year celebrate the denizens of the great Indian wilderness in the hope that they inspire the policymakers to protect their right to coexist on this planet. “Man and animal need to co-exist but they are in a conflict these days. So we should put a stop to unsustainable development and discontinue the practice of constructing hotels around our sanctuaries. We also need to welcome tourism in our national parks because they provide livelihood to all those who depend on eco-tourism.”
For Arfin exploring the beauty of diverse wildlife in an aesthetic manner was the main priority. “I see wildlife itself as an art and try to photograph it as dramatically as they are or were at the time of shooting. I generally take photographs as wide as possible so that it reflects not only the animal’s grandness but also its beautiful habitat. My composition, lighting, perspective and the context it is shot in has a strong contrast toward surrealism or realism.”
Pointing out that India has a strong network of protected areas (613) and 28 established tiger reserves, Arfin says this will ensure the protection and longevity of its bio-diversity. “But today India is standing at a point in history where the last 50 years have seen the most frantic exploitation of nature for meeting the growing needs for food, timber, fodder, fibre and fresh water for an ever increasing population. The time has come for devising innovative management practices for the management of resources and to follow the principles of sustainable development in letter and in spirit.”
The call of the wild has had an irresistible attraction for Arfin ever since he was a teenager. His innate love of nature led to many forays into the wilderness, exploring forest reserves to capture the beauty and infinite variety of Indian wildlife on camera. “Initially I could not afford an expensive camera. But when I could manage I made good use of it in shooting majestic creatures of the wild. Over the years, wildlife photography has become a driving force to record every fleeting moment in the life of these magnificent creatures that are daily facing erosion of their natural habitats that now threatens their immediate survival.”
The exhibition is open up to this coming Monday.