Interview with Amish Chhagan

We had the pleasure of interviewing Amish Chhagan, a few months ago, we had the pleasure of having his exhibition “Endangered” in our exhibition space. We have known Amish for several years and were delighted to be able to print his amazing images.

Tell us a little about yourself: Who are you? What is your relationship with photography?

Growing up in Zambia I was fortunate to get numerous opportunities to explore the flora and fauna of this spectacular region of Africa. Between the metropolitan capital city of Lusaka, where I grew up, and the numerous trips to various national parks in Southern Africa, I appreciated the glaring contrasts at a young age; ecological, physical, visual, but mental as well. The serenity of these vast lands and the excitement of spotting wildlife often transpired within me; more so when I found photography (or when photography found me).

My role as a wildlife photographer exists because there are beautiful and spectacular moments to capture in the wild, but therein exists an important duty to show my continued support for promoting (impactful) conservation. This is not just a business for me, it is part of a revolution to protect the planet and its wildlife inhabitants using the most powerful weapon I own – my camera.

I am honoured to have my work awarded featured in various publications and media outlets including NatGeo Your Shot, GEO Magazine, Sony Photography Awards and Wilderness Destinations.

What equipment do you use?

I am a loyal Nikon user! I have two mirrorless bodies, one is the Z7 and the other Z9. Regarding lens, I usually travel with three lens: 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 150-600mm. With the combination of these, I can capture a variety of wide angle through to close up shots of my subjects.

How did ‘Endangered’ come about?

The theme of “Endangered” came about by observing the notable difference in the world’s wilderness that I have personally witnessed just in my lifetime. Every animal that was displayed during the exposition has a massive conservation threat attached.

Where were the images taken?

All the images were taken in Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Rwanda.

These unique and rare species are primarily found in the Virunga Mountains at the intersection of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. Golden monkeys are considered endangered and although no official statistic exists on population, it is estimated there are between 4,000-5,000 remaining in the forests of the Virunga Mountains with decreasing populations due to habitat destruction. They are insufficiently explored, unlike other primates such as the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees that reside in similar habitats. The Dian Fossey Centre are one of the only centres that has created a team specific to researching these species and have been doing this over the last 15 years, making great strides in understanding their ethology. The idea was to replicate a similar approach to one that Dian Fossey applied to the mountain gorillas using trackers and researchers, all the while habituating them and create a conservation model that will assist in recovering the species.

What do you want to convey with ‘Endangered’?

The intent behind “Endangered” is yet another call to action, urging viewers to recognize the conservation threats faced by these animals. The first step is awareness. Then understanding. Followed by emotion. And finally, action and making a difference.

Get in touch to understand more about how you can support the cause.

On what paper have the images been printed? And why?

Hahnemühle Photo Rag. Arguably the best quality fine art photography in the world.

Is it a finished project?

Nope – this is a life-long project.

“A memorable moment in the Masai Mara. The sun emerged after a quick tropical storm, producing a stunning rainbow over the plains. I sought after the closest subject I could see, envisaging the rainbow backdrop. A female Masai giraffe appeared from the corner of my eye, accompanying a larger tower of giraffes, as they were making their way to several Acacia trees in the near distance. As she moved forward, an oxpecker was seeking the perfect spot to land on the giraffe’s neck. My shutter went off to for the next 20 seconds. I look back at it like a movie. This was my favorite image.”

What projects are you working on?

I am working on finalising a couple of safaris that I am hosting taking some guests to see the Kenyan wilderness – a very special trip planned.

Aside from that I am working in obtaining more representation from fine art galleries to display my work and help to convey my message, not only around the beauty of the African wilderness but to draw attention to the urgent need for conservation.

My key project for 2024 will be releasing a photography coffee table book.

What influence do you think social networks like Instagram have on photography nowadays?

It can be very powerful. I have personally created some important relationships with key conservation organisations and other like-minded photographers due to the audience that views my work.

How long have you known VisualKorner?

About 3-4 years. I discovered them when trying to source a Certified Hahnemühle Photo Lab. Through Hahnemuhle’s certified list on their website, I found VK and have not stopped using them since.

Herd of elephants make their way to a small pond of water to quench their thirsty before conitnuing on their journey in search of new pastures.

What kind of work do you do with us?

At the moment I use them almost exclusively for my fine art prints and framing.

One project that I hope to be being in 2024 is my coffee table book. I will of course turn to VK to help me to execute this plan!

How do you rate the service?

Excellent, there is very little that I can pick to for VK and team to improve – maybe a bigger discount! The customer service is on par with the high-quality output of the prints and finishing.

Sara is my main go to contact (due to English!), and she has been the main reason I have been a loyal customer. I am a demanding customer and seek almost perfection, so it is imperative that I work with a team that share a similar ethos. Sara is patient, responsive and has been a joy to work with over these years!

I envisage using them for the foreseeable future and working on bigger and more impactful projects!

And finally, leave us a phrase that motivates or defines you.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. – Henry David Thoreau

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