“I encourage everyone to travel and visit the forest, for they are amazing…there will be fewer and fewer in the future. That’s what I say to myself when I take every photograph….In my photographs, I let the animals and trees speak for themselves and hope other people will see the beauty I see.”
Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s interest in photography was evident in the video clippings that were shown of his visit to Edmonton, Alberta, where his father, Prince Karim Aga Khan, received an Honorary Degree from the University of Alberta on June 9th, 2009. The Prince carries a camera wherever he goes and will seize opportune moments for using it.
In November 2007, he produced “Animal Voyage”, a 128 page volume containing a collection of some of the many thousands of photographs that he took between 1996 and 2007. An earlier edition of the book was published in 2004 (Note: The new edition was available for purchase at this website and is now sold out).
Prince Hussain’s interest in photography took off from his trip to the Brazilian Amazon in 1996. While he has taken thousands of photos of ecological subjects, wildlife remains his most significant passion, and photography his main hobby.
In 2004, the Prince showed a collection of some 60 of his photographs in an exhibit called “An Exhibit on Deforestation”, at the Luchsinger Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. The exhibition contained photographs of ecological subjects from his excursions to rainforests and reefs near Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Egypt, Madagascar, the Maldives, Indonesia and Malaysia.
His goal was to inspire each visitor to appreciate the unique and fragile beauty in a world of coral reefs and rainforests. When he spoke to students from the Greenwich Academy and Brunswick at a joint Upper School Assembly, Prince Hussain said:
“In my photographs, I let the animals and trees speak for themselves and hope other people will see the beauty I see. I encourage everyone to travel and to visit the forests, for they are amazing. The sooner you visit, the more likely you are to see a broad variety of different plants and animals. There will be fewer and fewer in the future. That’s what I say to myself when I take every photograph.”
About his interest in photography, the Prince notes:
“I love photographing animals most of all, though I take many landscapes and, occasionally, cities and people….I’m privileged to have seen what I’ve been able to see….sunsets, waterfalls, crocodiles, monkeys, elephants, and lizards….to be there at the precise moment an animal climbs a tree or dives into the water. The first flap of the wings as a bird takes flight.”
For Prince Hussain, each photograph that he takes is an appeal to the tendeness of the wilderness that guides his sensitivity, his desire to be one with nature. The animals, whom he loves so much to photograph, return his gaze as if they know they are watching his love for their world.
*Please click each image for enlargement
Acknowledgement: The photos have been made available for publication with the kind courtesy of the publisher, Editions d L’Oeil, France. All images are copyright.
To purchase book, please click Collection: Purchase “Animal Voyage” by Hussain Aga Khan
Read John MacDonald’s review at Collection: Review of Hussain Aga Khan’s “Animal Voyage”
Prince Hussain, a koinoor of Aga Karim Shah.
The story accompanying each photograph is equally intriguing.
Mehdi Shallwani, Canada
East Africa is blessed with some wonderful sights always waiting to be captured on the camera, and Prince Hussain has done it splendidly. His love and passion for photography and animals is truly admirable.
I sincerely hope Prince Hussain visits many other places and continues to inspire us with his remarkable work.
I rejoice and my spirit soars because of people like Prince Hussain Aga Khan who appreciate the forests and their inestimable value. His love of animals and all of creation is remarkable and heart warming in an age where crassness is the order of the day.
Astonishing pictures of Allah’s creations. They illustrate the fine eco-system balances.
The pictures are full of sympathy for the subjects they capture. The humanity of the photographer is evident in every shot. And a few seem to reveal more about the artist who captured them than of the subject itself. Well Done!
Prince Hussain is incredibly talented. Photography demands a trained eye, an amazing support system, and excellent timing. But most of all, it requires education of the heart -for is that not where everything begins? Also, the cover books he has designed are very good. Bravo to Simerg for putting all this out.
The pictures were lovely and prove the beauty of nature and the greatness of Allah. One would surely love to see them again and again
Wow. These pictures really show the reality of the natural world we live in. Fantastic!
The pictures are all so magnificent. Reminded me of back home (Tanzania). Fantastic job done. I hope and pray that the forest, the natural beauty remains always. The beauty and nature God’s creation should live forever.
Wow, wonderful pictures, Prince Hussein! Inshallah, I too will be inspired to take such breath-taking photos and will be sure to take my camera with me wherever I go, lolz. Keep it up!
The pictures are beautiful! I particularly like the one with the tree …
I think this is such a wonderful way to promote awareness about the environment.
I hope to write about this innovative thinking on my website as an example of how youth can change the world’s thinking.
Fariya Walji a third-year university student at the University of Toronto, studying Criminology, Dramatic Arts, Political Science and English.
She is also the founder and CEO of “Change Tomorrow’s World”. Please visit her blog at http://www.changetomorrowsworld.com/
I really loved the wonderful pictures of Animals.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful photographs and habitants. Habitat is home. It is where there is shelter and safety, where there is a suitable food and water supply, where there are associated plants and animals. Habitat is space which is special to and fits a particular species, for example rock wallabies live in areas with terraced cliffs.
It is nice to read about the interest of Hussain Aga Khan. I just remembered a quote of Imam Sultan Mohammad Shah, Aga Khan III, “Nature is the living book of God…” Thus each time we study about nature, we discover yet another wonder of God.
It is really great to see the artistic collection of Prince Hussain and his great passion for the animals inhabiting the earth. There is a challenge in this for creative youngsters – that they should show their rich talents in arts, including photography, to everyone around the world.
Dear Prince Hussain – Thank you for sharing your photographs with all of us.
Photography is a medium that lets individuals express their relationship to the world without words. It is an essential component of how we observe, communicate, remember, learn, share and celebrate. An image suspends a moment in time such as breathtaking landscapes, creation of life, cries of war, love at a wedding, laughter between friends, expressions of diversity, and much more. Photography is an art form that transcends all ages, cultures and levels of ability, allowing the ultimate freedom of expression.
“Be kind to all creation of God” is one teaching of the Holy Quran that I can relate to when I see these photographs. Another teaching of the Holy Quran is about “exploring the universe” through observing, traveling and listening to nature.
In many parts of the world animals are treated with no mercy. For example illegal hunting of rare species of animals goes unabated in Hunza and Ghizar valleys where a large number of people are Ismailis. Perhaps there are one or two lessons, messages, for these ‘hunters’ of nature.
I am not an expert photographer to comment on the techniques used by Prince Hussain, but I can feel that his sense of capturing and creating moments in photographs is refined and superior than many.
And surely he is more courageous than most of us! How many of us would, for example, hold a frog in our hands? 🙂
The generation of Imam always give message to us; we have to understand the meaning behind the message and work to save the natural habitat.
I think Prince Hussain Aga Khan has given us the opportunity to understand the reality of this beauty that will not last for ever, so lets hands together to save these animals and plants from being destroyed. Upcoming generations have to understand the ground realities of the things which will not last with us, and everyone’s eyes will crave to see all those things.
These photographs are an inspiration for all and specifically for youth who would be leading this world tomorrow. It’s important to realize that we should not only preserve these beautiful creatures of Allah in photographs but in reality as well for the up coming generation to witness and sense the brilliance of Almighty. They also have an equal right like us, to experience the beauty of this world.
I am fortunate to have a copy of the earlier version. The photograpphy by Prince Hussain is just fantastic and there is so much to see and learn from these images and to appreciate the nature. The best time to really appreciate the work, the beauty and the nature is to go through this collection in a very quiet enviroment when your mind in totally free and you stay focused on what you are seeing. Its just amazing.
Confirms Allah’s Beauty and Creation. The question is how can one contribute in maintaining this creation in one’s life time?
Absoutely loved the pictures and love Africa, its wildlife, its glory and beauty.
I concur with Zeni – the photos are lovely.
May I first of all say how great Prince Hussain’s photographs are, and I thank you for providing this information about Prince Hussain’s interests . I’m very happy about his passion because I myself love nature and animals, and I have an interest in this type of photography.
In response to Prince Hussain’s concern about the future of the natural habitat that “….there will be fewer and fewer in the future. That’s what I say to myself when I take every photograph”, it I think many of us have started doing precisely that, knowing what is happening and what is expected to take place.
We have to arrest these changes that are now in progress, otherwise we shall never be able to buy back what we lost. We can surely stop the loss.
I believe that every one who loves nature, like Prince Hussain does, has to start making a difference – we must begin with ourselves.
Ya Ali Madad
The art of capturing the gesture of an animal in a single attempt and to make it come to life in the eyes of a spectator is an unbelievable skill. However, to be able portray many such frames for so many creatures at different locations, one needs to master the languages of these animals so as to be able to coax them to freeze them in a pose that has not been seen by anyone before. For animal lovers, this book is a treat and for those who are not sure of how to express their view it is an eye opener and a call for the inner feelings.
Great to see these exhibits from Prince Hussain!
His Highness the Aga Khan’s great work for humanity and a passion for breeding horses, and collecting art pieces are well known. Nature photography, seems a new addition to the family tradition, and rightly so.
The issue of deforestation and climate change is affecting biodiversity loss and also negatively effecting the ecosystem.
Through the Prince Sadrudding Aga Khan fund for Environment, lets hope, His Highness and the Prince continue to assist local communities in fragile ecological regions to protect the environment; through sustainable use of the natural resources they will be able to improve their livelihood conditions and quality of life.
Thank you for sharing these wonder pictures; it would not have been possible for most of us to see something so unique and in a new light. I am not an animal fan but certainly agree that we should make an effort to preserve what is there for tomorrow.
Wonderful and fantastic Habitual thinking.
Fantastic information and photographs. Keep them coming.
For us, the inhabitants of the earth, the species of homo sapien! We are sadly also the destroyers of God’s creation of the world of nature. Had it not been for mankind, Prince Hussain would not have said that we should search, travel and visit the forest as this is dwindling, or something to this effect! I am not quoting his exact words – only capturing the spirit in why he took so many photographs. Thanks!
The photographs are so real and live, that the feeling creeps you are there around, surrounded.
Born in Africa myself and having pursued photgraphy since childhood, these photographs arouse an urge to leave everything and just go away to the fauna and flora of the tropical forests and plains, and blanket oneself with the beauty and serenety of it.
The works of photographers like Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s should be made available to all school children at primary level (during Nature-study
lessons) to make them aware of what is at stake and what they may never be able to experience, except for in form of photographs,
even if they could afford it financially.
We will never be able to BUY back what we are losing now. I wish I was there.
I was privileged to see much of the natural beauty and wonder of East Africa and can fully appreciate your desire to be immersed in it. However, B.C’s beauty is not to be underestimated. I would venture to say that it is at least equal to the best in the rest of the world. I wish you much enjoyment of this feast.
Dear Mr. Pirbhai,
Thank you for your comment.
I have been to Vancouver several times and I have taken beautiful pictures out there.
I was at one time contemplating on donating one of my very beautiful photographs of Vancouver (taken on a rainy day from Stanley Park of the
City Skyscrapers across the waters) to the City, but never got around to it. I took it in 2004.
I have seen a bit of the natural beauty of B.C. and do appreciate it.
But, for me, nothing beats the flora and fauna offered by (specially) East Africa.
Feel free to get in touch with me
any time if you wish to see some photographs I took of Vancouver.