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Artist of the Week – Pathik Patel

September 6, 2010 by · 38 comments

An interview with the wild nature photographer Pathik Patel by Aneliya Angelcheva


Urbanisation is a worldwide trend in the 21st century. The rapid globalization results in more build-up area leading to deforestation. According to a recent global assessment (FAO 2006) forests cover 30% of the total land area of the world while the total forest area in 2005 was around 4 billion hectares. When destroying the forests, we destroy the only home of many animal and plant species. Deforestation has caused the green zones of the planet to shrink, which has resulted in loss of habitat for several animal species over the last 100 years. Thus several animal species have become extinct by human activities including Arabian Ostrich, Tasmanian Wolf, Bali Tiger, Barbary Lion, Caspian Tiger, Japanese Sea Lion, Javan Tiger, etc.

This long list of extinct animals in the last 100 years can be traced to human activity. The IUCN list of endangered animals is also growing longer with time. The rate at which we are loosing these animals is alarming, and if proper measures are not taken soon we may end up losing a large chunk of the animal kingdom. This will indirectly affect us, in fact the adverse effects have already started to show. Tigers for example will be left with no option but to encroach human settlements for food if the deer population is exhausted. On the other hand if the tiger population is exhausted, the number of herbivores will rise which in turn will lead to depletion of vegetation cover due to overfeeding by these herbivores. In short, extinction of a particular species puts tremendous pressure on the other species as well as the ecosystem. And it’s high time we understand that we are a part of the ecosystem and any alterations in the ecosystem are invariably going to effect us.

Pathik Patel is a wild nature photographer born on 14 January, 1966 at Ahmedabad in India. After he completed his high school education, he went to school for chemical engineering. In between he photographed his family but didn’t know that it would become the passion of his life.

If you go through his collection of photographs, you will find a large range of variety and vividness. His photographs have also been selected in the “Veolio Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year” developed by BBC Wildlife UK (Natural History Museum) . His photographs of wildlife have reached the Semifinals in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and also have secured the 4th place in “Sanctuary – RBS Wildlife Awards” in 2008 in India. His photographs have occupied the title page of the local magazine ”Focus” several times.

His official website is which offers a comprehensive overview of his work, a wide range of pictures of tigers, and his others projects. It also includes behind-the-scene information and biographical material.


You are not a professional photographer but your photos are inspiring. How did photography become your passion?

After my marriage, I stayed in the USA for 10 years. I came back to India in 2001 with my three children and wife. Then I got involved in my family business as the Director of my company. My first time, I visited “Bandhavgarh National Park” in India as a family tour where I felt an emotional connection with the wildlife. I saw many animals there but when I saw the majestic tiger, and from very short distance, I felt very good. The whole moment touched my heart and I just started loving tigers. This was the time when I first photographed a tiger with my camera. After returning, I decided to buy a digital camera for my photography. I ordered my first digital camera from USA which was a NIKON D100 body and NIKON 80 – 400mm lens and another 17-35mm lens to start my wildlife photography in 2002. Now I use an upgraded model NIKON D300 for better photography. It’s become a passion and part of my life.

The artwork of every single artist represents a specific message. What is your message?

I take the photographs and every photo is a live vision of nature, birds, and animals in its own mood. My message is “see the nature and all the species of this world with my eyes.”…


Humans are rational beings and what distinguishes us from animals is the ability of sensible thought. So, we simply do what is right to do, not what we want to. And being at the top of the food chain means being responsible for everything happening around us. Do you think that we do everything needed to preserve the planet and its endangered species?

There are so many NGO working to preserve the planet and endangered species but they are not 100% successful, therefore every human has to wake up to save the planet. Our mind is our god-gift, and should be used in the manner it was given to us…….

Wild nature. Maybe it sounds alien to the people living in the concrete buildings we call homes. It seems to me that we have forgotten where we came from. Do you meet understanding and approval while travelling and arranging exhibitions?

Everybody can not understand the wild but exhibitions show them some part
of the loveliness of nature. We’ve forgotten where we come from but somewhere in our heart
it’s still beating that we are also the greatest creation of nature so we definitely lean to it whenever it comes in front of our eyes.


Would you tell me more about your photo exhibition? I know part of your mission is to make people understand the importance of preserving nature and wildlife.

After visiting so many national parks, I found that tigers are passing away day by day from India and all over the world, so I decided to save the tigers. Now, it has become an aim for my photography. I visit “Bandhavgarh National Park” in India every year to photograph tigers. As per my aim, I decided to spread awareness to save the tigers and I did so by holding an exhibition named “The Majesty of Tiger and Lion” at Ravi Shanker Raval Kala Bhavan at Ahmedabad in India. It happened in 2007 from 6th July to 12th July. I can really say my exhibition on the tiger was done because of my passion of photography. I put together nearly 90 photos (20 x 30”) . There were many people who visited the exhibition, in addition to the many leading newspapers. And the local TV channel covered it.


Where do you take your photos? In them, I see wonderful species and unique snapshots of nature.

I have visited mostly every national park in India like “Ranthambhore National Park,” “Crobett National Park,” Bandhavgarh National Park,” “Kanha National Park,” “Tadaba Andheri National Park,” “Velavadar National Park,” “Little Rann of Kutch,” “Bharatpur National Park,” “Bandipur – Mudumali,” “Nagarhole National Park,” “Periyar National Park,” “Desert National Park,” “Kumdhalgarh National Park,” “Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary,” “Thor Bird Sanctuary,” “Sasan Gir National Park,” etc. where I have covered most of the photography of my life including birds and wild animals.

I have also visited “Masai Mara,” “Lake Nakuru” and “Saba National Park” in Kenya for wildlife photography and have also covered USA, UK and Canada for the same.

Wildlife and modern lifestyle: are they compatible?

If we can create a concrete jungle, huge buildings, malls, a city, flyovers, and all the great forms of construction, we can also create some specific space for nature to survive specially in our mind and heart.


How do you combine photography and your business arrangements?

Because of my work routine and the pressures of my business, I am unable to dedicate my whole life and time to my hobby. Whenever I indulge myself in my hobby and experience it, I find myself at peace. My hobby turns out being a family tour which my family and I can enjoy. I am very thankful to my wife and my children who support me and provide constant encouragement to me. They always support me in my aim.

We destroy our own home because of our human activity. Along with our home we destroy the other inhabitants of this home. We destroy the planet and the planet’s inhabitants and thus we destroy ourselves. Isn’t this paradoxical?

Yes, we destroy ourselves by destroying the planet. Therefore, it is necessary to initiate awareness for the planet.


What are the most endangered species in the world?

Some nice tigers, birds, and vultures as far as I know.

Clearing the forests and then constantly erecting buildings leads to disharmony in the ecosystem. What happens to the animals once their homes have been destroyed?

Do you know about the dinosaurs? Have you seen them? You can only see them in pictures. After enough time, you can only discuss the story of wildlife. It is disappearing, gradually. Birds and animals have their own homes to protect them, but if we destroy their home they probably can’t survive.


“Save our tigers” – it sounds like a despairing call for help. How many tigers are there, approximately, on Earth?

According to my visits and surveys, I’ve found that only 1,411 Tigers are left in India with 4,000 to 5,000 in the world, which decreases day by day. I started to spread awareness to save tigers through exhibitions and other types of media. I plan to serve better programmes for people in future.

Do you have a favourite place where you take shots?

“Bandhavgarh” in India & “Masai Mara” in Kenya.

What has been your most dangerous situation? Photographing within the close proximity of wild animals such as tigers isn’t safe.

Here, we don’t agree. I think that tigers are one of the safest and least dangerous animals in the world. There are so many times that we got close, sometimes within only 5 to 10 feet. If you touch the emotion of any wild animal, you don’t have fear it. You just love them. They can not do anything. They are happy in their life and only want your love.


There is a fairy-tale telling the story of the gold fish that fulfils three wishes. If you catch the gold fish one day, what would you ask it to do?

Save our tiger (wildlife) and give us the perfect balance between nature and humans.


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