Giving a peek into the rich wildlife, the young conservationist and keen wildlife photographer, Neel Soni, took everyone on a walk through the lush green area of Corbett with his book, A Walk on the Wild Side that was launched at the Lodhi Hotel, yesterday. The event commemorated the World Wildlife Week and honoured the forest guards who make forest adventures possible. The event also included a panel discussion on Wildlife Photography as a Tool for Conservation.
Soni has been visiting Corbett since he was two years old so when six years back he picked up his camera for the first time, Corbett was what he wanted to capture. “I have always felt an extreme connect with the jungle. For long I wanted to be somewhere I belong to and the forest gave me the medium. Corbett both expanded my creative nature and challenged me,” said Soni, who over the years learnt the ways of the forest, how to track the wildlife and slowly taking pictures.
The book, A Walk on the Wild Side, is his memoir in the jungle. He said, “While I was in Corbett, I would often find myself writing, so, this book is a compilation of my writing and photographs over the years.” The book doesn’t dwell on a generalised idea of Corbett, rather it’s about Soni’s story, what he went through and his state of mind while capturing the nature.
At the event, Soni also had an exhibition titled Roar, Trumpet & Song. The first part of the exhibition was a collection of images taken from the book which takes you through Corbett. Moving on to the second part, Soni has purposely digitally edited certain pictures, especially the ones with the elephants, to showcase the ivory on their tusk to highlight the very same ivory that we humans so love to collect. There was also a feature on tigers and couple of birds.
What’s even more interesting is that the proceeds of the book will be given back to the forest, especially the forest guards. “I have witnessed the living conditions of the guards who go the extra mile in patrolling these areas, making it possible for tourist and photographers like me to visit these places. So, the proceeds will go to the Sanctuary Nature Foundation and they will help me channelise the money to the forest guards in and around Corbett,” said Soni, who in the near future is planning to have an emergency relief fund for the forest guards. “Should a forest guard lose his life on duty then their family will be taken care of.”