Time To Earn Your Stripes
No, it’s not Sher Khan, the fearsome tiger from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book - but it’s just about the closest you’ll ever find to a genuine, fair dinkum tiger in the concrete jungle that is a modern metropolis.
I shot this on a Singapore street in December 2007. The huge pavement cafe umbrella was dripping wet from the downpour and I shot this frame specifically to capture the residual raindrops on the dark blue surface. But you can clearly see the word "Tiger" on the left and the corporate emblem for Tiger beer on the right.
When I was a kid growing up in India, a friend of my Dad’s was a shikari, or hunter. And one of my earliest memories of visiting their home was the sight of a tiger-skin, beautifully prepared by a taxidermist from the pelt of the unfortunate animal that he had shot.
Its glassy eyes seemed to fix me as a target and its fangs were so frightening that I could never bring myself to touch them. Now, of course, tigers are a protected species in India and I don’t think there’d be many recreational hunters who would display the cured skin of a big cat.
In my childhood and through to my late teens, we used to spend part of our winter holidays at a place called Hazaribagh - which in Hindi literally means the place of a thousand tigers.
Just the kind of place I’d love to go back to - armed with nothing more lethal than my camera.
This last shot was an advertisement painted on the side of a bus and I thought the colours were great as it went past me - so I had to take a quick shot while it was on the move. It was an interesting exercise, because I tried to compose the shot to exclude other vehicles and pedestrians.
Not often you see a tiger in the city.
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