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Photography As Art

Photography As Art

Traditionally, Sanctuary has always insisted that wildlife images be kept true to what the photographer sees through the lens. That is still our hard position where entries for our annual Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards are concerned. Nevertheless, we have always recognised the potential of fine art as a conservation tool, and here we invited Shaaz Jung, a talented, young wildlife photographer, to share with readers his work, which leverages photographic images by turning them into works of fine art. The rest we leave for the artist to communicate.

Traditionally, Sanctuary has always insisted that wildlife images be kept true to what the photographer sees through the lens. That is still our hard position where entries for our annual Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards are concerned. Nevertheless, we have always recognised the potential of fine art as a conservation tool, and here we invited Shaaz Jung, a talented, young wildlife photographer, to share with readers his work, which leverages photographic images by turning them into works of fine art. The rest we leave for the artist to communicate.

With these artistic edits, I aim to magnify the withering world we live in by adding the elements of fading mist and transient clouds. The jungle is full of mystery and as a wildlife photographer, I believe it is my duty to tread these corridors ethically and capture the magic of the wilderness/forest in a visually powerful and unique way. That will always be who I am.

Photography is undoubtedly a very powerful tool, but I also want to evoke emotion and thoughts by depicting images in a more freewheeling, artistic form. I began experimenting with original images and am now convinced that by portraying photography as art, I can add dimension and strength to conservation communications, by bringing a new set of people into the arena to help signify the beauty of the vanishing world we live in.

I call it ‘Environmental Surrealism’. I achieve my ends by using Photoshop on RAW images, which I ‘paint’ using light and other tools, that today’s technology places at my disposal. It’s been a full five years that I have been practicing this style. I love the forest, but when I return and enter ‘this’ world, I am lost for three or four magical hours.

Essentially, for me, portraying wildlife as art, was a milestone. I was tentative at first, but am now convinced that, like paint on canvas, digital wildlife art will see more artists experimenting and more support flowing in, for our threatened natural world.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

The Clouds of Change, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The population of lions has decreased by over 50 per cent in the past two decades. Like the dramatic clouds, change is imminent and we are all treading on the vanishing road. In a way the transience of clouds underscores that of the biodiversity that decorates our life.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

The Concrete Jungle, This is a composite of two images, one from Tanzania, the other from New York.

In a world fast being urbanised, wildebeest and elephant, both migratory, exemplify the unfolding tragedy of lost corridors, which I felt was best expressed as a monochrome composite.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

The Indigenous, Kenya.

“In the lands of the Masai, I heard the mountains whisper.” Indigenous tribes are on an endless journey in search of untouched lands, free from the lethal touch of globalisation. In our world, cultures and traditions are vanishing, yet the Masai still stand strong and forever may they march. Again, the vanishing manifests itself through fading mist and fleeting clouds.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

The Concrete Jungle, This is a composite of two images, one from Tanzania, the other from New York.

In a world fast being urbanised, wildebeest and elephant, both migratory, exemplify the unfolding tragedy of lost corridors, which I felt was best expressed as a monochrome composite.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

Dawn of the Leopard, Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka.

A leopard lurks in dagger-like shadows. I chose not to digitally modify or edit this image. I found it artistically expressive as painted by nature at sunrise, as the first rays crept through the canopy.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

The Evanescent, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

Lions are spectacularly beautiful and fierce. But they are fast vanishing from our planet. For me, this image magnifies the withering world in which we live. I added the fading mist, which I likened in my mind to the evanescent lions.

Photo: Shaaz Jung

Portrait of the Panther, Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka.

The black panther has been the central focus of my work for the past five years. My edit, an artistic rendition of the enigmatic cat, seeks to shed light on the master of darkness.

Author: Shaaz Jung, First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXIX No. 2, February 2019.

 
 
 

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