Meet Saheer Yafi who enthralled Apple with his 'chameleon snap'

Meghna K

Numerous numbers of rituals prevail in many corners of our nation. When experiencing it, one may feel an unnatural aura emanating from all of them. Such festivals render an exhilaration that stays beyond the perceptions of our ordinary senses.

Saheer Yafi, the picture featured by Apple

Tranquil pictures of a chameleon that pops up from the folds of a long green leaf, glaring at the dim light that refuses to pour out got featured on the Instagram page of Apple.Inc. The snaps that were acknowledged by one of the tech giants were shot by Saheer Yafi, who hails from Alappuzha in Kerala.

Apple has shared the picture shot on Saheer's iPhone with the caption 'Perspective is Unique to everyone'. Here are a few excerpts from the convo that the photographer had with

Can you please share with us how you happened to take the shot, which got featured by Apple?

I have been taking photographs for the past 6 years, all on my mobile phone. Whenever an exceptional subject or frame comes my way, I attempt to capture it on my phone. The photo that appeared on the Instagram page of Apple was taken a few months back when I visited my brother's cafe on the beachside. When I noticed a slight movement inside the plant nearby, I went to closer quarters to have a look. I felt a unique beauty in the stance of a chameleon which creeped on the backdrop of the bright green leaf. Along with this, the tone set by the night and the dim light of the restaurant falling over the chameleon added grace to it.

How come Apple reached out to your picture?

Apple has made it clear on its Instagram Bio to share the pictures shot on iPhone with the tag #ShotoniPhone. Hence, whenever I take pictures, I share those which I perceive as the best on my Instagram page with the recommended hashtag. This was the only thing I did to bring my pictures to the attention of Apple.

Their first contact was through Instagram and later the interactions were through emails. The photographer has to elaborate on the story behind the picture and fill up a detailed questionnaire. Thus, the picture I posted on Instagram on November 22, 2021, appeared on the page of Apple on May 12, 2022. I came to know that the picture has been featured on Apple's page only when they tagged me in the post.

Why have you decided to stick on to the iPhone instead of switching over to digital cameras?

Without a doubt, the iPhone offers us high clarity pictures with ease. Apart from this, as a businessman, it is not easy to carry a camera wherever I visit. Certain ideal moments to be seized in a frame transpire unexpectedly and if the mobile itself is our camera, hardly we miss those instances. In this buzzing world in which we run behind our careers, mobile phones help me to carry forward my passion without compromising it. In addition to being handy, the quality of the pictures shot on the iPhone remains the same for any number of pictures taken with it.

What kind of photography fascinates you?

I have always aspired to pursue documentary photography. For instance, there are numerous numbers of rituals prevailing in many corners of our nation. When experiencing it, one may feel an unnatural aura emanating from all of them. Such festivals render an exhilaration that stays beyond the perceptions of our ordinary senses. Kodungallur Bharani is one such festival that induced curiosity in me. I always wonder if such an exuberant ritual is really taking place in our neighbourhood. I turn to street photography when there is not much time to reserve for finding or going after a subject for a documentary kind of picture. I also find myself interested in portraits.

What are the post shoot alterations you prefer?

Each photograph has to tell its own stories. I search for them, instead of approaching a frame with pre planned intentions. I prefer not to edit my photographs as such alterations spoil the essence of reality the picture carries. Sometimes I feel like turning a picture into monochrome can render more beauty to it. Then I revise it into black and white image.

Darkness and shadows seem to be prevailing in most of your pictures. Is it intentional?

I am more curious to take art-oriented offbeat pictures. I think it pleases my eyes more than the ones that are taken in a bright light.

Did you have any similar interactions with Apple prior to this incident?

Apple had sent me an email in 2018 in connection with a picture of a dragonfly that I posted. I had taken that picture on my iPhone with a macro lens. Unfortunately, I missed the message and lost the chance. Later, a picture I had sent for the 'pet challenge' of Apple got selected. Apple usually conducts similar community challenges and prompts its users to post photos with certain hashtags.

Are you a traveller who photographs moments en route journeys, or a photographer who travels in search of frames?

Both happen. I am inclined to capture pictures unique to the locations that I travel and most of the pictures are born unexpectedly, by chance. Besides this, I opt to travel with the prime intention of taking pictures in case any festival commences. As I said earlier, it is mainly to cover documentary photography. The pictures of Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu, Kadungallur Bharani, holy in Rajasthan, Kolkata streets, stilit fishing in Sri Lanka and Hyderabad Muharram fest were captured thus.

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