It is rightly said that pictures describe reality better than words. In Kashmir, photography has become a passion for many who love to capture life’s moments as they occur. Some photographers prefer to capture wildlife, while some are documentary photographers who capture scenes from everyday life, and others prefer to do travel photography. Sports photography, although being an established genre in other parts of the world, has not found much audiences in Kashmir. However, that is now changing with the emergence of new sports photographers in the valley.
Yaqoob Ali, sports correspondent for Rising Kashmir, presents some of the valley’s emerging sports photographers whose passion for sports photography has earned them fame and accolades.
Shabir Ahmad Lone
One of those big names is Shabir Ahmad Lone, known as Lone Mahie, an ace sports photographer from Kashmir who has gained popularity on social media in recent years. Lone loves to capture cricket and football.
Lone, 23, is from the Kralpora region, Kupwara district, northern Kashmir, and was an intermediary at Government Boys Higher Secondary Kralpora. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Government Degree College Kupwara.
âI’ve been working as the official photographer for JKSports time and Cricket Ramhall for a year and a half. These two are the two great sports pages of the valley,â he says.
Lone says Patrick Eagar inspired him to become a cricket photographer.
âI started photography at the 12th standard at the age of 18. My mother Zareefa and my younger brother Irfan supported me in pursuing my passion, âhe says.
Besides cricket, it also works to capture other sports like soccer.
âBecoming a photographer was my childhood dream and I want to become a professional photographer at some point. It’s not only my job, but also my passion, âhe says.
In recent years, he hasn’t missed a cricket or football tournament in the valley.
Lone says his love for cricket surpasses his love for other games. His photos have made the rounds on social media when it comes to cricket photography.
Mahie captured all the big stars in the valley with his lens. His talents as a photographer have made him a favorite among cricket fans in the valley.
âI have photographed cricketers like Parveez Rasool, Nasir Lone, Manzoor Pandav, Mujtaba Yousuf, etc.
Lone has over 5,000 followers on his Instagram.
From the capture of local cricket to the fame of cricket photography, Lone has come a long way.
His hard work, his passion, his determination have played out and he believes it can bring him success.
He has covered various events including the Dalgate Srinagar Champions Trophy, Hokersar HMT t20 Tournament, Mattan Premier League Anantnag, Bijbehara Premier League, Burzahom Premier League, Rehman Cup t20 Andergam, Fight For a Title Tarzoo Sopore, Angles Trophy Kulangam, Champions Cup Chogal, Pandith Pora Premier League etc.
He has received several trophies and certificates of appreciation in both football and cricket.
âI recently received a cricket bat with my name and photo from Anthem Sports India,â he says.
Another valley cricket photographer who has become an inspiration to aspiring photographers is Mudasir Rashid, known as Ess Mudasir.
Mudasir, 30, is a self-taught photographer. He is originally from the Palpora Pattan region of the Baramulla district and obtained his MA from IGNOU and his BA in Physical Education from Singhania University in Rajasthan. Ess Mudasir’s cricket photography has found many followers on social media.
He is considered a big name among valley cricket photographers and is known for his skills.
He started his sports photography journey in 2014 and has since captured numerous sporting events in Kashmir.
âI am the official photographer for SNW Chanderhama, Rehman Cup Andergam, CWAP Palhallan and Ali Memorial Ghusebugh,â he says.
From capturing local cricket with his lens to notoriety in cricket photography, Ess Mudasir has accomplished a lot in a short space of time.
Mudasir’s photos say a lot about his talent.
âI am very passionate about photography and I spend my days honing my skills,â he says.
Famous personalities like Mohammad Shafi Para, Mir Hassan, Dr Zameer Malik, Majid Hurray are his inspiration.
He has covered major sporting events in the valley including SNW Chanderhama, Cricket Association Andergam Rehman T20, CWAP Cricket Welfare Association Palhallan, Ali Memorial Ghusebugh, Wanigam Super League, KPL Kunzer premier League, Darvesh Bagh Premier League, Tappar Premier league, Prince Memorial Palhallan (DAMB), Pattan Trauma Hospital.
Shahid Ahmad Khan
Another emerging sports photographer from the valley is Shahid Ahmad Khan.
Originally from Kondabal Manasbal, Ganderbal District, Central Kashmir, Khan completed his middle school education at Safapora Government Upper Secondary School and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at GDC Ganderbal.
Sultan, 21, began his photographic journey in 2016 at the age of 16.
âAs I was playing cricket, I wanted to capture some moments behind closed doors,â he said and added, âLooking at photos of sports figures on Facebook and other social media made me want to capture photos of events local.”
He says he learned photography from YouTube.
âI learned photography, video shooting and editing on Youtube because there are Youtube channels that teach skills in various fields,â he says.
Its Cricket Kashmir Facebook page has 40,000 subscribers.
âI started this page in January 2020 and in no time the page gained 40,000 subscribers. It’s a great appreciation for me from sports fans, âhe says.
Cricket lover, he wants to make his hobby his job.
âI was inspired by my father, the late Ghulam Mohammad Khan, who was also interested in photography. Seeing my fondness for photography, he bought me a digital camera, âhe says.
He says that after his father’s death he would quit photography, but his mother Khalida Begum motivated him to continue pursuing his passion.
âIn addition to my mother, the cricketer coach and famous cricketer Hilal Wani supported me,â he says.
Wildlife photographer Aarizoo Khurana is her model.
âSince my real passion is taking photos, I switched to portrait photography,â he says and adds: âI have spent most of the last five years photographing different events, the beauty of nature and sporting activities like cricket, soccer, etc. “he says.
âAs far as my technical skills are concerned, I have mastered a wide range of professional cameras, lighting equipment and lenses,â he says.
Shahid has a good command of photo editing, Photoshop and has also developed extensive shooting skills.
âI bought a digital SLR camera with my little savings. I come from a disadvantaged family and I lost my father in my early teens, “he says.
He has taken photos and videos of Jammu Kashmir Premier League, North Kashmir Premier League, Burzahama Premier League, Nawabagh Premier League, Champions Trophy Kulangam and Open Kashmir Premier League Bandipora.
Bilal Sultan is another emerging sports photographer from the valley who has become a North Kashmir cricket photography sensation.
Sultan, 23, is from the Wagub region of Sopore, in the Baramulla district of northern Kashmir. He received his middle education from the Delina Government Upper Secondary School and is currently pursuing a BA in Mass Communication from GDC Baramulla.
Sultan started his photographic journey by clicking on nature and local events.
âUmar Mohidin Mir, a local commentator known as Lovely Umar encouraged me to opt for sports photography,â he says.
Over the past few months, this boy has made giant strides across the major social media platforms namely Facebook and Instagram when it comes to cricket photography.
Sultan captured the valley’s biggest cricket stars with his camera including Ishtiyaq Rasool, Parveez Rasool, Asif Rasool, Auqib Nabi, Jahangeer Lone, Adil Reshi.
He has also received over 15 trophies and awards for his work.
He became famous for his photoshoots in such a short time.
Sultan started his photography by clicking on nature, products, portraits and wedding photos, but gradually turned to covering sporting events with his camera.
âI was not associated with cricket photography. I used to cover nature, products, portraits, wedding photography as well as modeling sessions which proves that it was never an overnight success for him “, a- he said, adding: âI was inspired by Imad Click, a famous Vlogger in photography,â he says.
He says he was not associated with cricket photography.
It was Umar Mohi ud Din, known as Lovely Umar, the official commentator of Kashmir Sports Watch (a Facebook page) who motivated him to opt for sports photography.
âThe lovely Umar told me that there is cricket fever all over the valley and that if you have talent and skill I should try my luck in cricket photography,â he said.
âI was told that I would earn a name and fame and have a bright future,â he says.
Bilal Sultan has a keen eye for detail to ensure that every element of the photo – the lighting, composition, subject and everything in between is always up to the task to convey the right vision and the right message.
âBesides being a photographer, I’m also a professional photo editor,â he says.
He learned photography and video shooting on Youtube.
âWhen I had difficulty taking photos or videos, I used to look at Youtube for additional advice,â he says.