A few years back a friend of mine asked me if I was willing to work on a short project on the Aravalli Range. We did not go ahead with the project. He wanted to document the deforestation that is taking place in our lifetimes and create infographics around this. At that time, I did not have a specific aim in mind, so we drifted off, and the project did not get off the ground.
Over the last few years, I have noticed that the forest boundary has been receding at an accelerating rate. I lived here in 1993 and went away for 20 years. When I was living here, we were surrounded by the forest. While I was away, the forest was cut away to make room for buildings. And, I live in one of those buildings. Yet, while I can see the forest from one of our windows, I realize that it will disappear. In the last 7 years since I returned, more and more have been cut away.
This is why I finally decided that it is now time to shoot the forest, or at least as much as I can, in the next year or two. Once I finish this, I may move on to documenting the Yamuna.
I have more or less decided to edit each picture in two ways - color, and black & white. Shooting forests is not easy.
There are two challenges, maybe three.
The first is to create a context. It's easy enough to shoot sections of the forest, and edit them in an artistic manner. And, you can create an atmospheric image. But, the problem here, is that it will be difficult for any viewer to identify with the forest in question. The images can be from anywhere in the world.
The second is to decide on the artistic treatment. The two have to blend or mesh, with each other. I am referring to the question of art and context.
The third is to decide on the overall tone of the project. My guess is that I will adopt something that highlights the beauty of the forest, with a wistful sadness that it is disappearing. You cannot whine, because no one likes someone who whines.
The final - what formats? I guess a book, a podcast, a YouTube video. And, a few folios. Shall I update people on the progress? Why not?