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Bureaucrat, photographer, biker and writer extraordinaire
Shamim Akhtar wears many hats with élan
New Delhi, January 28th, 2012: What would you say of a man who rides alone to Ladakh on his Bullet motorcycle in eleven days, taking time off from his busy schedule as a civil servant, and then takes the most stunning photographs, deploying the little used and known infra red technology? Furthermore he comes out with the most impressive coffee table book titled Rode to Heaven-Ladakh using the same photographs and sells out the entire print run in no time. Awesome does not fully describe this multi talented man.
Born and raised in little known Chapra in Bihar, Shamim Akhtar’s love for bikes and photography began quite early. His father gifted him a 100 cc bike when he turned twenty, and he rode it all the way to Delhi, where he completed his post graduate studies from JNU, and also took and qualified the tough Civil Services exams.
His official duties kept him away from his pet pursuits for a while, but he was fortunate that his wife fully supported him in his passion and by and by he returned to pursue his twin loves of photography and bike-riding. His achievements over the years will leave anyone spell-bound. He has to his credit, four coffee table books, based not only his prolific traveling and photography, but also his keen interest in Indian history and traditions.
His first book was Lakshadweep:
His next offering was Dilli -Potrait of an Immortal City. Essentially a photo essay, the unique thing about the book is the fact that the pictures shot in black and white, using infra red technology, have some uniquely evocative imagery. This book is especially poignant for Shamim, because he spent his youth in Delhi, studied, fell in love and married here. Besides he now works for Delhi Administration.
Kailasha-A Journey Within, is his latest offering and consists of stunningly beautiful photographs of the holiest of holy Hindu Pilgrimage destinations, which he shot on his recent visit to that place of desolate but spectacular beauty high in the Tibet Himalayas.
Shamim Akhtar attributes his intrepid forays into the beautifully varied terrain of the Himalayan mountainous region to a possible karmic connection. “ It’s possible that I have a connection from a previous life with the beautiful Himalayan region, as I definitely feel most at peace when riding in the shadow of these awesome mountains.”
This February, Shamim plans to display the best of his photographs culled from his Ladakh sojourn, in a grand photography exhibition, Ladakh Hues over a period of 9 days, starting on the 8th of February at the India Habitat centre. This will be a rare occasion for the denizens of Delhi to catch a glimpse of Shamim’s stunning oeuvre, and is expected to draw the who’s who of the city’s literary elite.
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