Asmita Parelkar: Stop and Look

 
Panthera Tigris (Tiger): At the time that I made the photos, I was a student at the International Center of Photography in New York. I had come across a report that estimated the value of illegal wildlife trade to be between USD 7.8–10 billion per year. Photograph/Asmitha Parelkar

Panthera Tigris (Tiger): At the time that I made the photos, I was a student at the International Center of Photography in New York. I had come across a report that estimated the value of illegal wildlife trade to be between USD 7.8–10 billion per year. Photograph/Asmita Parelkar

Asmita Parelkar explores the relationship between animals and humans in her photographs. In the past, she has been commissioned by ‘The New York Times’, ‘Motherland’ amongst other publications.

Asmita Parelkar explores the relationship between animals and humans in her photographs. In the past, she has been commissioned by ‘The New York Times’, ‘Motherland’ amongst other publications.

With the help of her thought-provoking series on illegal wildlife trade, Asmita Parelkar confronts you with the brutality that goes behind the trading of endangered and exotic animals.

This article was originally published in November 2014.

The shocking discovery of the huge billion dollar illegal wildlife trade industry prompted me to explore the issue. When I contacted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, they granted me permission to photograph their confiscated specimens. However, no amount of research could prepare me for what I was going to see.

After talking to the officers, I realised the extent of the brutality. It took me a while to digest the reality that behind every lifeless skin or artefact made using ivory or rhino horns, was an animal that was once alive. My aim was to spread awareness about this heinous practice, which I chose to do with the help of the provocative remains of these beautiful creatures.

Canis Lupus (Wolf): Initially, I had sent out several emails contacting owners of exotic pets, in the hope of making photographs. But most of them were reluctant to give me permission. Photograph/Asmita Parelkar

Canis Lupus (Wolf): Initially, I had sent out several emails contacting owners of exotic pets, in the hope of making photographs. But most of them were reluctant to give me permission. Photograph/Asmita Parelkar

How to be Your Project’s Strongest Advocate:

  • The lack of permissions or difficult time periods must not deter you from pursuing your photographic project.
  • Don’t just stop at photographing issues that concern you. Make prints and put up posters to promote your cause. It can make a big difference.
Tags: Photofeature, Asmita Parelkar, Feature, photoessay, Endangered animals, exotic species, Wildlife trade, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Brutality