Published: 02nd November 2018
This 10-year-old from Jalandhar took a photo that won the British Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer Award
Arshdeep Singh from Punjab has recently made India proud after becoming the only person from the country to receive the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2018 in London
One day you are this happy 10-year-old without a care in the world and the next day you wake up, you have become a celebrity and suddenly calls flood your mobile phone. Sounds like a reel-life story? Let me tell you that it's extremely real for Arshdeep Singh, who hails from Jalandhar, Punjab and has recently made India proud after becoming the only person from the country to receive the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2018, in the Young Awards category. It was organised by Britain’s Natural History Museum in London at the beginning of this month.
We spoke to the 10-year-old prodigy and he told us his story about when he first got to hold a camera and the rest was history. Excerpts:
When did you first hold a camera and realise that you wanted to become a photographer?
When I was 5 years old. In 2012, If I remember correctly, my father gifted a camera and a lens on my birthday. Since then, I my interest in photography grew. I started clicking photos of our pets and birds around the house.
Who is your inspiration?
My father is a wildlife photographer too, he taught me how to hold a camera at the age of five. Everything I learned about photography is from my father. I feel he is the biggest inspiration behind receiving such an honour.
Do you follow any other photographer other than your father?
Apart from my father, I follow Tim Laman, who is an American Wildlife Photojournalist and has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2016. I also like David Yarrow, who is a British fine-art photographer, financier, conservationist, and author. He has travelled to isolated locations to capture images of wildlife, indigenous communities, and landscapes.
Tell us the story about your winning shot.
I took this shot when my dad and I went to a wetland in Kanjli, Kapurthala district in Punjab. I told my dad that two owlets went inside a pipe and I asked him to stop the car. He responded by saying that I was crazy because it was just a six-inch pipe and owlets couldn't fit in there. However, we decided to wait for 20 to 30 minutes, and then I finally got to take that shot. But I never thought I would win as the international awards are much tougher than the national ones. I got the award in front of famous photographers and it felt great.
What are your hobbies? What do you in your leisure time when you are not out clicking pictures with your father?
My favourite pastime is playing lawn tennis. I also do my homework, watch television but only National Geography and Animal Planet. A lot of people ask me how I own a mobile phone when I am just 10 years old, so I tell them that I have to travel for tournaments for my tennis games where parents are not allowed. Thus, my father gave me a mobile phone to keep in touch.
Why wildlife photography?
I don't like nature photography because I find it sort of boring. In wildlife photography, it is something new that I get to shoot every day which excites me. My favourite shot is a hunting shot, which I took in August this year when we visited Kenya. The shot showed a leopard killing a hare, its prey. I had to wait for almost four hours in one place to take that shot. But it was worth it. I would like to become a wildlife photographer or videographer when I grow up.