Lens on the wild

Deccan Chronicle.  | Radhika Vashisht

Sunday Chronicle, phyzzicality

plus, his ‘Return to the Jungles’ project aims to restore forests to their prime

A flight of Great Cormorants perch on the ruins of a tree by a lake at Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur

For photographer Debashish Dutta, wilderness and wildlife are passions for life. So, it was never a decision, but a natural progression, when he decided to pursue his love for the art form. Ever since his childhood, the amazing stories of hunters and naturalists like Kenneth Anderson and Jim Corbett filled Dutta’s post-school hours with wonder. He reveals, “Certain inspirations are by birth. Such is their intensity. Their vivid description of the beautiful jungles of India in the midst of which unfolded numerous adventures involving the magnificent royal Bengal tiger, the crafty and beautiful leopard, and the gentle giant, the Asiatic elephant, had a profound impact on my heart, mind, and soul.”

Talking about his project featured here, ‘Return to the Jungles’, the photographer shares, “This concept is of redeveloping forests wherever land is available. The inspiration came from Padma Shri Jadav ‘Molai’ Payeng, who built a forest single-handedly on a 550-hectare sandbar in the mighty Brahmaputra. Today, it is a thriving biosphere with resident tigers, rhinos, elephants, a large number of birds, and many reptiles. The word ‘Return’ refers to returning a piece of land back to wilderness and wildlife. However, a forest is a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires a considerable investment of effort and time to get it to a stage from where it requires only nature’s support to sustain itself. This is why I am trying to reach out to people with my story and strategy. I need support and investment to turn ‘Return to the Jungles' into a movement. This is a cause for all. It is distinctly doable, provided people understand the urgency of afforestation. And there is no time to lose!    

“Over the years I have noticed a general apathy among the common public about such serious issues. Through my exhibitions, my website and social media; I show people the beauty of nature and try to invoke the latent love for nature that every human is born with. The expressions of awe and elation on the face of the viewers assure me that I am on the right course. And that motivates me to shoot more and show the people what we all need to work hard to treasure,” he adds, on a concluding note.

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