There’s an Old Jungle Saying in Corbett “The elephants start preening and the tigresses begin their catwalk in the grass, with the arrival of Akashendu Das” And that I guess is the biggest tribute to the talent of Akash Das, when his subjects start feeling one with him.
It will be doing him injustice if one calls him a Photographer, even a Photographer par excellence. For Akashda is a creator, give him a medium and he will create, the innumerable national and International awards he’s won and the number of ‘Firsts’ he’s achieved are a testimony to his irrepressible need to create and Never follow a norm.
In an age where art directors have become slaves to technology, Akashda still delights Managing Directors of large brands with his impeccable hand scribbles. While creative people are grooming their carefully unmopped hair and fraying their jeans all over Akashda’s sense of dressing, again, is unique to him. Cleanly combed short hair, floral bush shirts, well fitted knee length shorts, rolled up white socks and thick designer boots. It is difficult to tell him that there is going to be a meeting with the MD so he should be formally dressed since the formal dressers can learn a lot from his careful grooming. Not that he is averse to trousers, but he likes to be told in advance since he prefers long shorts.
Photography comes naturally to Akashda. And unlike most photographers, he doesn’t shoot a subject, he captures a feeling. Look at any of his shots and you will be able to see a story. A lone tiger on a dusty path cutting across a vast jungle, most shutterbugs would focus on the tiger and try and get close-ups, for how many times does one come across a tiger on a lazy walk, but Akashda captures the vastness of the jungle and the loneliness of the tiger he even gets nature to spotlight the catwalk, no wonder it won the best tourism award in Germany. But I must add he has an advantage there – remember the Old Jungle Saying!!! On a serious note the things tigers and elephants do in Akashda’s pictures leaves one spellbound – how did he manage to do this? And the answer comes with a smile “I wait and I wait and I wait, something always happens when I wait.”
Interestingly another norm that Akashda has broken is that he cannot be stereotyped. He’s done nudes – both human and animal – in fact he is the only photographer whose black and white exhibition called ‘In Search of Asian Nudes’ got engraved in Limca Book of World Records as the first of its kind in the world. He has four Coffee Table books to his credit. They are called In Search of Asian Nudes, Hundred Wonders of Uttar Pradesh, Celebrating Manipur, Vanishing Wilds and Faune en Inde (French). His elephant collection is astounding and before people thought he only did elephants he included tigers and I am told there is a waiting list of at least 15 more species that are requesting his attention. When he frames his pictures for an exhibition it is difficult to believe it is a picture and not a painting.
And despite all that talent, all the global accolades, despite being a brand ambassador for top brands, Akashda remains a mild mannered, soft spoken, ever smiling man ready to help even the youngest in the business.But this talent comes with one inbuilt flaw; despite years of experience he still cannot tolerate idiots. This mild mannered man has been known to burst out when confronted with idiocy and mind you, he never differentiates between the source of idiocy – it could be a colleague, a client, a helper or even a Managing Director – for Akashda an idiot is an idiot and he refuses to suffer them.
He is a true Rainmaker. His attitude, his talent, his hard work, his patience, his perseverance and his unending need to create original visual experiences engraves him in the annals of Indian Advertising as an inspiration for youngsters entering our profession.