Into the wild

Since childhood, Jaina Tolia had blissfully given in to the mysterious spell that the forests cast on a traveller. But a few years ago she decided to take up photography, and ever since, she’s captured some tangible magical moments that the wild always contains in its womb.

In 2014, Jaina completed a Toehold Photography Workshop, and has been going on Photo Tours headed by Toehold Skippers ever since.

The Bandhavgarh Photo Tour, in particular, is one that Jaina recollects as a rejuvenating experience. She reveals that it made her fall in love with the forests ever since, and loves it all the more during winter. Barely a few minutes into a conversation, one can tell how eloquently she can talk about her love for photography, with a nonchalant, effortless charm.

“I am a whole new person every time I visit a forest and come back to the civilised part of this world,” reveals Jaina. “I can’t quite articulate what trance holds me when I am in the woods; it’s almost divine. It’s like every corner of the forest has something to whisper into your ears if you are a little more patient, and it really works like a magnet in my case.” 

And the inexplicable joy that solitude brings in such places is like a spiritual awakening, she says, articulating her experience almost poetically, contradicting her own belief that she can’t.

Jaina has an immense love for wildlife and the cats – especially tigers – are her favourite and exclaims that just watching them is an unparalleled pleasure.

Although she adores wildlife, she says she wants to explore more of landscape photography in the future because she travels a lot and something about timelapse photography fascinates her.

“I make images for the self-satisfaction that capturing a special moment brings, and I don’t really wait for feedback on social media to improve my skills. This art is an extremely intimate affair, and the Toehold Skippers help me with what I need to learn to be a better photographer,” asserts Jaina.

 “When it comes to photography, whether it be on Workshops or Photo Tours, the Mentors have enormous patience to go through every photo you want them to, even if they are exhausted at the end of the day, and give you honest feedback. Their effort and patience are highly commendable.”

On being asked about what photography means to her, Jaina explains: “Since I have to balance my professional life and personal life, making time for photography is quite a time-consuming affair. Having said that, I always listen to my heart and go by what it has to say when I get an opportunity to travel and photography my favourite subjects. I never want to stop myself from travelling with a camera, especially for mundane reasons.”



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