Father-son duo, Vinod and Bharat Goel, use photography to create awareness about wildlife through their first exhibition together. Titled, Jewels of the Wild, the exhibition is a collection of 28 photographs clicked by Vinod and Bharat over the last eight years.
“I started by clicking some pictures as memoirs during my visit to different towns as part of my job. But it was during my stay in Chattisgarh from 2002 to 2008 that got me hooked into the world of wildlife,” says Vinod, who is a civil servant. As his son Bharat was also doing engineering from the same town, Vinod would also take him on safaris over the weekend. “The sight of seeing a live tiger and two cubs playing near water at the Kanha National Park got us hooked to wildlife photography,” says Bharat.
Though the tiger is their favourite muse, photography for the Goels is about much more. “It’s all about capturing wildlife, be it an insect, deer, crocodile or cheetah, in its natural environment,” says Vinod. The duo has travelled to more than 30 national parks, including Achanakmarg near Bilaspur, Sitanadi-Udanti, Barnavapara in Chattisgarh, Nagzhira (Maharshtra). They have clicked the Great Indian Bustard at the Desert National Park (60kms from Jaislamer), the Black Buck at Tal-Chhapar in Rajasthan, Asiatic lions at Sasan Gir in Gujarat, lots of crocodiles, leopards, wild dogs and tigers at Taboda Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, and, pythons at Sur-Sarovar near Agra.
Vinod’s favourite clicked pictures are of the Indian Gaur (bison) at Bandipur and a picture of a cat and snake facing each other. “The cat is the representative of Goddess Durga and the snake symbolises Lord Shiva. When the two looked at each other in the eye and moved without attacking, it meant to me that the world is in harmony,” he says.
The father and son bond big time over their common passion of photography. “During these tours, we have become more like friends. I got to learn a lot from my father on how to handle a camera and capture the right moment,” says Bharat. While Vinod tries to take out at least two to three days every month for an expedition, Bharat has given up his job to follow his passion for wildlife photography.