The photograph of snow-capped mountains is postcard perfect but its the story behind this picture that photographer Arpan Kalita wants to talk about. He took the picture in March last year while on a trip to Arunachal Pradesh with a group of travellers. Kalita wandered off alone to an army restricted area and met with some Army personnel on patrol. He got talking and dug into the history of the place.
The point was called Jaswantgarh,named after Army man Jaswant Singh,who was stuck there alone for 72 hours during the 1964 Indo-China war. He managed to line up about 18 rifles and ran between them,shooting at the border. The Chinese army assumed that there were many jawans at the point and did not attack, says Kalita,adding that he could not imagine coming back without some shots.
He pleaded with the authorities and convinced them that he would only capture the landscape to inspire viewers with the patriotic story and not take any pictures of their equipment.
This was only one of the many adventures Kalita has enjoyed after giving up his desk job as a graphic designer two years ago,and starting freelance work as a travel photographer. As clichéd as it may sound,most of the times,the shots that I get en route are far better than the ones I get when I reach the destination. Im married to my passion for travelling and am having an exciting affair with my art of photography, says Kalita,who is currently displaying his work at Grubshup.
The 30-year-old Assamese photographer says it all started when he was working on an advertisement,for which he did not have the required photographs. He told the photographer what his design needs were but that didnt work too well. So he took it upon himself,even though it was a tedious task. Kalita enjoyed the feel and the next day first,ordered a DSLR camera and then,signed up for a trek.
My friend organises treks and camps across Northeast,which I joined. The art has been self-taught, says Kalita. His first assignment was a trek to Indrahar Pass at an altitude of 4,375 feet in Himachal Pradesh. Another adventure caught on reel is a trip he made to the Dzukou valley in Nagaland. I had to trek nine-and-a-half hours to reach the valley. But the sight was awesome, he says.
Of a trip to Arunachal Pradesh,Kalita says they were caught in a snow storm. While all the cars were stuck,our driver decided to go on for another two to three kilometres,till he reached a point where there was no moving forward. I asked him about the famous Pitiso lake and was told that it was only a kilometre down the hill from where we were. I walked to the lake and took all the pictures I wanted. By the time I came back,the storm was over and we got going, he says.
The photo exhibition A Way with Frames is on display at Grubshup,Law College Road,till September 10