THE CAPTURED PLANET
ARTRA’s Top 10 of Artist Challenge l Photography l Riahn Pieris
As the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz puts into words “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than the reality”. Photography as an expressive art of observation has the capacity to open new windows to infinite universes for spectators. It is all about the depth of feeling an image embodies and its ability to relive memories by capturing a fragment of life through the lens. ARTRA Artist challenge organized to celebrate the young upcoming artists ready to revolutionize the contemporary art scope of Sri Lanka recognizes Riahn Pieris, a young emerging wildlife photographer with exceptional potential in the field of photography. Driven by a passion for the visual documentation of Wildlife and nature, Riahn’s skill and vision as an artist is extraordinary. Most importantly, his artwork transcend mere artistic beauty to achieve greater goals such as promoting awareness on Wildlife preservation and conservation which is a crucial environmental concern at present.
Growing up with a deep attachment to wilderness observing flora and fauna, Riahn was strongly inclined towards investigating nature. Having travelled across Sri Lanka expansively, he has explored numerous natural sites such as reserves national parks sanctuaries and ocean areas. With a love for jungle life and adventure, Riahn in a very early stage of his life was exposed to nature which triggered his interest in photography. Being a naturalist and an artist today, he fondly remembers his amateur days as a youngster experimenting with his basic Fujifilm camera and a digital canon learning his first steps in the craft and self-teaching the technicality of photography. Further, Riahn told ARTRA “I use my photography to attempt to share this with others, however I feel I will never be able to do nature the justice it truly deserves and I hope my passion inspires others to love nature as much as I have done and will do”.
According to him the most remarkable privilege of his passion is being able to share the untold stories of the wilderness with others opening up a door for them to discover the wonders of nature and experience the wide ranging biodiversity of the luxuriant Sri Lankan jungles. His efforts also strive to spread awareness about the importance of maintaining the natural equilibrium of the world shared by both Homo sapiens and numerous other species. While aiming to bring positive change for wild life and natural spaces of Sri Lanka Riahn shared with ARTRA that, “My vision as an artist is to be able to share my passion and love for nature and wildlife to get as many people as possible to appreciate the natural world for its beauty and importance, this is in the attempt to give our fellow occupants of the planet a stage to speak to others, as they don’t have a voice of their own but have the as much right to this planet as us.”
As also recognized through ARTRA platforms, his collections are suffused with of rare shots of wild animals like leopards, elephants and peacocks reposing in surveillance inside dense thickets or open green lands caught while freely strolling in their routine habitual trails busy in their various predatory pursuits. Further reflecting on the essence of his art and delivering a message to people, Riahn mentioned to ARTRA, “My photography would be my form of art, it can help me to express the beauty of nature, the colours the vibrancy. I hope to share my passion for wildlife and nature through my photography by reaching as many people as I can. However, I feel I will never be able to do nature the justice it truly deserves and I hope my passion inspires others to love nature as much as I have done and will do. Sri Lanka is a country blessed with so much wildlife and biodiversity in a relatively small island”.
A graduate in the field of Sustainability and Management inspired by a deep love for nature, Riahn’s resolution is to make life conducive and sustainable for both animals and human beings. Following his passion and remarkable commitment to wild life preservation activities, he is currently collaborating with the Leopard project by the Wilderness and Wildlife conservation Trust. It has provided him the opportunity to engage in more research and investigation in the field and navigate many interesting natural destinations. In addition, he is also working as a Game-Ranger naturalist for the Wild Coast Tented lodge frequenting the trails of the Yala National Park while capturing the many rare and fortuitous moments of animal life. As a result the images he captures confess a unique animated quality teeming with colour, movement and life.
Riahn has won significant attention among the public that his work has been featured multiple times in the Loris Wildlife magazine and Yala and Wilpattu National Park museums. Further his Photographs are included in the children’s book Yala – A Special Place (published in order to raise funds for the Yala museum development which was destroyed in the Tsunami of 2004, in memory of Vikram and Nikil). Riahn’s increasing popularity as a talented wild life photographer is seen in the way his work is featured in Conservation groups and pages on Facebook and sites dedicated to raise awareness on Wild Life. In addition, Riahn in conversation with ARTRA mentioned that he is looking forward to expand his artistic pursuits and work further in the field as a dedicated naturalist.
A picture taken of a juvenile southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) of the coasts of Welawatte, Colombo, Sri Lanka. A seal hauling itself on to the rocks along the welawate break water.
Elephants (Elephas maximus) are the true gentle giants found across our island. While on aid work for the nearby villages in Wasgamuwa.
Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) at his campsite in Kumana National Park, enjoying the sounds of nature and reading a book, this little kingfisher landed next to me.
A photograph of a mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) in a lake in Yala.
Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Photographs of leopards have become the norm excepted from wildlife photographs of Sri Lanka.
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus). Sri Lanka is full of beautiful birds that provide colour and song all across the island.