Winners 17-19

Juhi Saklani, from New Delhi, is a freelance writer and has published articles in The Hindu, Scroll, The Wire and, and authored a number of books. Previously she worked as an editor and writer with Outlook Traveller for nearly a decade. Her passion for photography started with taking photographs to support her articles at Outlook Traveller. Her photographs have also exhibited as a part of The Garden Underground at Jor Bagh Metro Station.

Juhi’s project, as a Habitat Photosphere fellow, is on The inseparableness of ‘nature’ and ‘human’. Her photographs will be of beautiful, sculptural trees and roots that grow out of old walls and buildings, out of other trees, or unexpected spaces. The idea is to emphasize the synergy and interconnected-ness of life.

Juhi will be mentored by Aditya Arya.


Thulasi Kakkat, from Kochi, Kerala works as a photojournalist with The Hindu. He has a Diploma in Digital Cinematography from Chetna Media Studies, Kerela, and won the National Military Photo Award in 2011.

Thulasi’s project, as a Habitat Photosphere fellow, focuses on the the eco-cultural significance of Theyyam, a ritualistic form of worship from Kerala. An unmistakable umbilical link existed between Theyyam, with its organic accoutrements drawn from nature, and the biodiversity-rich wilderness of the sacred groves (Kaavus) home to Malabar’s pantheistic deities. A government report published in 1956 had identified some 10,000 Kaavus in various parts of Kerala. Fifty years hence, in 2015, just about 1,200 of them survived. Development has ushered most Theyyams out of what remained of the groves to built structures with open spaces engirdled by high compound walls.

Thulasi’s aim is to document the surviving Kaavus with their integral Theyyam deities. He will work on this eco-cultural chronicle to sensitize people to the life-sustaining value of the Kaavus and their undeniable role in fighting climate change.

Thulasi will be mentored by Bandeep Singh.


Syed Adnan Ahmed, from Ajmer, Rajasthan does documentary and commercial photography. He received the Neel Dongre Grant for Excellence in Photography 2017. He has also received the NDMC Award for photography and has been a part of the travelling exhibition organized by Girl Count, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and UN India. His work has exhibited at AIFACS and MF Husain Art Gallery. He has done BFA and MFA in fine arts from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Syed’s project, as a Habitat Photosphere fellow, is on Rooster Combat (A threat to sustainability). The practice of cockfighting is synonymous with bloodbath where organizers and participants cheer the cruel fight between roosters laced with sharp knives and fighting to death. Though rooster fights have been considered illegal there are still some areas across the country practicing this cruel blood sport. Due to the sport’s illegal status, the cock-pits are regularly changed for the Rooster owner’s personal safety.

The aim of this project is to create awareness and sensitize people to the threat to sustainability by this blood sport. The project will focus on the impact of rooster combat on the animal as well as the communities involved in breeding and betting.

Syed will be mentored by Prabir Purkayastha


Zishaan A Latif, from Mumbai, works as an independent photographer. His photographs have been published in a number of national and international magazines and dailies. He has shot for a number of organizations including UNICEF, Deutche Bank and Aamir Khan Productions. He was a nominee for Prix Pictet in 2016. His photographs have shown across India at various festivals and exhibitions.

Zishaan project titled “Withering”, as a Habitat Photosphere fellow, is an endeavor to document the ‘drowning state of existence ‘ of the river island of Majuli in Assam caused by the mighty Brahmaputra.

The aim is to reflect on the larger consequence of climate change and displacement and with that the disappearing of a mystical ecological example that the world must take cognisance of.

Zishaan will be mentored by Parthiv Shah