Hamir, The Blue-Eyed Prince: A Visual Essay On The Man-Eating Tiger Of Ranthambhore

Hamir, The Blue-Eyed Prince: A Visual Essay On The Man-Eating Tiger Of Ranthambhore
Arjun Anand

Arjun Anand, a visual artist and fine-art photographer based in India, has a resounding passion about travelling the world, photographing people and landscapes. However, what he is most keen on capturing through the photographic lens is exotic wildlife in different parts of the world. He was first introduced to the wild in the mid-1980s during his family trips to the Bandhavgarh National Park.

Arjun is constantly experimenting with his work, incorporating variegated principles such as those of minimalism, grunge, and the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, to name a few. Black and White is his medium of choice for its timelessness and the ability to remove distractions of colour, enabling the viewer to better connect with the subject. Even in the jungle, surrounded by the chaos of nature, Arjun seeks to capture the stillness and calm of life to create an emotional experience for the viewer.

Recently, he has come up with a coffee table book on photography called Hamir – The Fallen Prince of Ranthambhore, which captures the lives of the popular tigers of the world-famous Ranthambhore National Park and puts a special focus on the man-eater known to the locals as ‘Hamir’. The vivid and enchanting book showcases a convergence of three elements — Ranthambhore and its royal inhabitants, the photographer in him, and the journey of Hamir.

Upon falling in love with the blue-eyed Hamir at first sight, Arjun obsessively followed and chronicled the tiger’s journey through his lens for years. Now, he takes us on this epic journey of the blue-eyed prince rising to become the ruler of the jungle, even as he is pushed to the boundaries of the park. In doing so, he gives us a glimpse into the startling and thrilling collision of man and the wild. At a certain point, the park could no longer accommodate more tigers, and as a result, tigers were being pushed off to the periphery of the jungle where they came into conflict with humans.

Unfortunately, these collisions had left the park with a scant tiger population for a long time. However, the tiger population at Ranthambhore has grown considerably — from 25 in 2005 to over 70 tigers in 2020 — “thanks to the conservation efforts of the forest department and all stakeholders involved,” says Arjun Anand.

“Our biggest conservation challenge today is to secure tiger corridors, allowing tigers to migrate to connecting forests. Looking at the forest department’s track record, I have no doubt that we will find a solution to this challenge too, but it is not going to be easy. There will be failures along the way and unfortunately, failures in this context translate to the loss of some tigers. As bad as it sounds, we have to focus on the big picture. I am confident that the tiger population’s upward trajectory will continue to remain intact.”

Hamir – The Fallen Prince of Ranthambhore is an ode to one such tiger whose journey casts an authentic glance into the hundreds of such tigers at the brink of death. It is an enchanting visual escapade into the heart of Ranthambhore National Park to witness a bittersweet tale of survival and rivalry.

Arjun Anand is a fine-art photographer based in India. He travels the world photographing people and landscapes but exotic wildlife is what he is most passionate about. Arjun started his first entrepreneurial venture when he was just 23 years of age. After years spent in developing business automation software and running outsourcing businesses, he finally took up photography full-time. He commits most of his proceeds towards wildlife welfare programmes.

You can see more of his work here.

Find the book here.

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