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Rising Stars: Meet Pareet Shah

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pareet Shah.

Hi Pareet, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born and brought up in Mombasa, Kenya living such an outdoors lifestyle. Then, I moved to London for my further studies and met the love of my life there.

I stayed back in London for 20 years – working in various multinationals in Finance roles. After spending 20 years in London, we as a family decided to move back to Kenya to give our children the same outdoor lifestyle as we had, and the rest is history!

When we moved back to Kenya, I had the opportunity to shoot a family friends’ wedding which I was very nervous about but I did it, and from that, we got other wedding photography inquiries and so it went! A few years ago, during a short break from wedding photography, a few of our friends went to the Maasai Mara and I taught them a few photography tips and tricks, and they suggested that I should set up a photo safaris business – which I immediately did!

That was four years ago and now we conduct about 12 photo safaris a year and I am usually booked a year in advance. There is absolutely nothing I love more than spending time with big cats on safari!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all. It was incredibly difficult to give up a lucrative professional career in London and settle into the unknown in Kenya, however, my family has been extremely supportive and we have worked very hard in the last five years or so to get to where we are. A lot of the things we used to take for granted in the UK are almost unheard of in the bush.

I have also battled heavily with the perception in Kenya that any profession in the Arts is not a real profession. And I think that for me has pushed me even harder sometimes to prove my worth and to prove myself.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a wildlife and wedding photographer based in Kenya. I lead photo safaris in the Game Parks of Kenya. This involves teaching and inspiring like-minded people on how best to use their cameras to take wildlife photos. Despite having done hundreds of safaris, there are always surprises and we’re constantly learning new things in the field.

It’s everything that does it for me – the early morning crisp air when you pop your head out from the top of the LandCruiser in semi-darkness, the manner in which the first rays from the burning sun paint everything golden, to observing the herbivores in the midday haze, and finishing off with fireside tales listening to the sounds of the night.

I am always sad when a safari is about to end, and equally excited when another one is about to start. Each and every moment on safari is memorable, Last year, I also started working as a photographer for the United Nations, which has been an incredible journey and learning.

How do you define success?
Success means different things to different people. For me, it has no monetary or materialistic meaning. For me, success means when I go to sleep and wake up with a happy heart and soul. In this day and age, happiness is often forgotten or de-prioritized however in our family life, it’s incredibly important.

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