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Photo captured by royal photographer turns into National Day Icon

posted on 04/12/2012: 5104 views

It was not in the wildest dreams of a photographer Ramesh Shukla, a UAE resident since 1956, that one of his photos would become an iconic logo for the theme: "Spirit of the Union" to the UAE national day celebrations, wrote Emarat al-Youm Arabic language local daily.

That occurred when Shukla was in the right place and time during the declaration of the Union. He captured rare memento photo for UAE Rulers before the state's flagpole immediately after the signing of the Union Agreement and inception of the UAE federation at the Union House in Dubai in 1971.

It was a turning point in his life when Shukla met the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, then the Ruler of Dubai. He told Emarat al-Youm that Sheikh Rashid had availed him opportunities to accompany him in different occasions to cover the events. So he captured many high resolution photos about the Dubai's landmarks from the vantage point, Sheikh Rashid's chopper.

The photographer, Shukla, 75, still continues his profession, taking photos nationwide to document the history of UAE. He said the camera has been his companion and second wife.

He was not only a photographer but also an artist too. He painted a number portraits of Sheikhs. Shukla's portrait of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was endorsed as an official photo at the institutions and corporations, as well as a postal stamp. Dubai Municipality's logo was inspired by one of the Shukla paintings. Dubai Metro's stations and the Union House are adorned with the Shukla paintings.

The royal photographer arrived in the UAE from India at age 22 with a camera given to him as a gift by his father on his 15th birthday. He bought a bicycle to enhance his movement. The camera was a surprise and strange to the locals, whose some refused to have their photos taken by Shukla, while others welcomed it since they would see their features in black and white photos.

Shukla said he had documented and shed light on the daily activities of Emiratis, noting that the photos were published by 22 Indian newspapers and magazines.

His wife, who is an artist too, had helped Shukla in photographing for a while. She was the first woman ever to take photographs in the women's occasions in Dubai. Then she went back to India to study decor and design. Now their son Nil Shukla, a businessman, runs the family design and decor business in India. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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