Courtesy to the knight in shining armour who hold down the fort against the enemies’ onslaught, with all their might and every kingdom stands tall and unthreatened.
The Indian subcontinent boasts of such mighty Knights of its own. The only difference is, they don’t wear those glinting armours instead they sport camo-prints and put on such a display of bravado that is matched only by a few others.
You don’t come across through their job profile very often. They set up their homes in the most remote areas of the country, or someplace where climatic conditions are adverse, marking their territories and standing guard over it.
They are the reason we can concern ourselves with all the memes in the world. These are the men and women who form the Indian Armed Forces. Have we ever wondered about the many life threatening challenges and attacks these superheroes have to survive on a daily basis, so that we can party until 4 in the morning or get a good night sleep?
But somebody thought about it and decided to bring the unseen side of their story for the masses. Arjun Menon a travel photographer is the man behind the spectacular show of these heroes in their natural surroundings doing what they do best.
Arjun had the chance to document how a day in the life of these superheroes looks like, and he spent weeks with them across changing geographies of the land. The end result was ‘The Extraordinary’ photo-series.
Arjun told that ‘The Extraordinary’ was his own personal passion project because Arjun himself comes from an Army background.
Arjun’s father was a pilot with the Indian Army Aviation. Ever since he was a kid, he took pride in the fact that his father could fly a heavy machine high up in the sky, performing combat training or helping out paratroopers jump off his helicopter, besides other things.
16 years ago, in a helicopter crash Arjun lost his father. Since then he wished to bring the trials and tribulations of the Indian Army to the fore, through the only means he knew- photography.
The Extraordinary Project
He set his plans into motion once he decided what exactly he wanted to achieve through this project. To explore and throw light on the extraordinary feats these men and women accomplish throughout their tenure, without yearning for credit or appreciation was Arjun’s aim for this project.
The Final Journey
Arjun sought chances to observe and document the army soldiers in action. But Indian Army wasn’t too sure about giving in to Arjun’s demand to click the photographs by being sent to secret bases.
It took some convincing and multiple visits to Delhi to make them believe that Arjun’s motivations were right. Indian Army gave him the permission.
Arjun travelled different confidential bases across India to document it all. To bring each of his visions to life the soldiers completely cooperated with Arjun. He also shot in some very difficult locations.
Arjun realised how incredible each of them are after spending so much personal time with the soldiers, clicking the pictures and observing their workday up close. These superheroes continue to perform their duty without a word of complaint even in temperatures ranging between -18 degrees to 48 degree Celsius, and in topographies that would make an ordinary person give up within minutes.
A lot of hardwork and love has gone in this project. All Arjun wishes to accomplish through this photo series is to inspire the Indian youth to consider the Indian Army as a career option. That he says, would be his “mission accomplished”.