‘I want to travel and click every part of the Northeast’
If you thought that photography was all about capturing that perfect moment, you better think once again. Ace photographer Arif Siddiqui feels that the mission behind his photographic messages is just as important as the images themselves.
Arif Siddiqui is a civil engineer by profession. But alongside his construction activities, he also has another mission to fulfil: to project the myriad and rich cultural traditions of the Northeast through his photographs and prove that the region is not all about violence. Based in the small hamlet of Nampong in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, Arif Siddiqui is an ardent nature photographer who has been striving to unravel the elegance and splendour of the State, as well as the entire Northeast, to the world outside.
A giant in the realm of photography, Arif Siddiqui’s photographs are literally a visual treat. His candid shots of Arunachal Pradesh and its people, through which he recites their history, legends, hopes, and aspirations, have gone on to adorn the pages of countless coffee-table books, newspapers, tabloids, prestigious publications and journals – both in the country and abroad. And the best part is that he does all this, not for the sake of professional gains, but to show the world the “incredible nature of the Northeast”.
I recently had an absorbing conversation with the ace photographer and activist. Following are excerpts:
Aiyushman: Is your passion for photography limited to capturing the perfect photograph?
Arif: Besides capturing the elegance of North East, I also endeavour to project the myriad tradition and culture that the seven sisters follows. The rest of India, thinks the North East to be one of the most violent part of country. Well, with my photography, I would elongate the message – no, it’s not. Tell me, where in the country can an amicable smile win a lifetime of friendship?
Aiyushman: If not Arunachal, where would you want to be to practise your passion i.e. photography?
Arif: I can’t thinks of any place other then the North East. The elegance of Arunachal has invoked in me the passion for photography.
Aiyushman: You have been bestowed with the Governor’s award…
Arif: Awards don’t generate any interest in me but the curiosity and admiration of the younger generation does. It gives me the satisfaction that an award never can. I’m also content that my art has been able to bring Arunachal Pradesh in particular, and the North East in general, to the notice of nature aficionados through the various national and international publications that have published my photographs.
Aiyushman: What role does technical expertise and equipment play in capturing the perfect shot?
Arif: I do agree that gears give the perfect shape & mood to the scene and environment. But no expertise is needed to capture the innocence and beauty of Northeast, it’s already there.
Aiyushman: Your experiences of Arunachal?
Arif: Arunachal being my second home, I have only good memories to cherish. I’m amazed how diverse culture and tradition mingles and co-exist harmoniously out here. Every inch of the magnificent land gives a different experience. Even I am worried to how I can live without the North East after my retirement.