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Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest Finalists Announced
The Smithsonian magazine has revealed 60 fi nalists for their 15th annual photo contest. This year, 48,000 entries were sent in from155 countries, amongst which fi ve Indian photographers have been shortlisted. Vikas Datta was selected for his landscape image in the Natural World category; Debashish Mukherjee for capturing a boatman reading a newspaper; Yusuf Chiniwala’s image of Yaks at Pangong lake in the Travel category; Swaroop Singha Roy’s image of a deer stag in the forest in the Altered Images category, and Sirsendu Gayen’s photograph of Gangasagar Mela in the Mobile category.
World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino Dies
Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died at OI Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on 19th of March. He was 45 years old (97 in human equivalent age). A team of veterinarians decided to euthanise him due to his agerelated problems and several infections. He is survived by two female rhinos: his daughter Najin, aged 28, and granddaughter Fatu, aged 17. White rhinos comprise of two subspecies: the northern white rhinos, which are nearly extinct and the southern white rhino. During the 1970s and 1980s, the poaching crisis largely destroyed the northern white rhinos in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad. The poaching crisis was the result of the growing demand for rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine to cure various ailments and to use them as dagger handles in Yemen. The remaining wild population of last few rhinos were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the beginning of 2000s, and by 2008, World Wide Fund, the global environment campaign considered the northern white rhinos extinct. To save the species from complete extinction, researchers have pinned their hopes on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). They intend to use Sudan’s genetic material, and the eggs of the last female rhinos to preserve the subspecies. However, IVF has never been attempted with rhinos before. Better Photography magazine and Panasonic India conducted wildlife masterclasses for winners of Wildlife India Photography Awards, and twenty other participants from 25 June-1 July 2017, in Kenya. During this period, the winners and participants were able to meet Sudan in OI Pejeta Conservancy. A video was also shot featuring Sudan, which stressed on wildlife conservation. The film is title Sudan - Last Male Standing, and is available on Youtube. Having known the team that looked after Sudan so carefully, we offer our condolences from India. “We had the singular honour, to meet and touch the very last living male northern white rhinoceros on the planet. We are the very last generation to see this truly magnificent sub-species alive. We could not help feeling a sense of shame that humans killed them off with poaching, just as we do with so many other species. By being bystanders, our responsibility in all this does not diminish,” said Madhavan Pillai, Editor of Better Photography magazine.
New Delhi Police Manhandles Photojournalist
Anushree Fadnavis, a photojournalist with Hindustan Times, was physically assaulted by the Delhi police along with two other reporters, while covering a march by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and teachers to Parliament to urge to meet several demands including academic freedom on March 23. The police tried to stop the march near the Safdarjung flyover with a lathi charge, and used water cannons on the marchers, as well as the journalists. After ceasing the use of water cannons, Vidyadhar Singh, Delhi Cantonment station house officer, attacked the journalists in the service lane of Brigadier Hoshiar Singh Marg. Fadnavis was photographing a student being kicked on the ground when female officers converged on her and snatched away her camera. A video capturing the struggle was uploaded online, after which the police apologised. They also suspended a woman constable and a male head constable. It has been noted by many that the police’s aggressiveness towards journalists has increased in recent times.
Maganbhai Patel, Known for his Studio Portraits, Passes Away
Maganbhai Patel passed away on 11 February in England. He was 95. He arrived in Coventry, from India, in 1951, and spent his initial years in shared housing, where he mingled with other immigrants. He found work at General Electric, where he was a member of their photographic society. Having already dabbled in photography when he was in India, Patel took photography classes in England. It was during this time that he began receiving assignments to photograph weddings and other events. Eventually, he quit his job to pursue photography full-time. Soon, he opened his own studio, close to home, where he photographed anybody who came in looking to have a portrait made of themselves. These individuals were mostly immigrants like him, hoping to get a passport picture made or to send photographs back home. At 94, his work came into the limelight, when his daughter showcased his work in a local exhibition group. “His work is of huge signifi cance not just for Coventry but the UK because it’s a window into the lives of people as they arrived here and the image they wanted to send home,” says Jason Tilley, curator of Photo Archive Miners.