Below are some of the experiences shared by our previous students, co-travellers and photographers.


I recently had the opportunity to go on a 9 day photography safari to Bhutan. My primary objective was to experience Bhutan, it’s culture and people. Second was the photography. Aarief delivered on both. It was a fantastic trip. Aarief's specialty is indigenous people….people in general. He has the inside track on where to go for an authentic experience, how to engage with the locals and how to capture your story on camera. I am so pleased with the trip and my photos that I’m planning to join Aarief on a similar journey to Cashmere.

Julie Root


My trip to Bhutan with Aarief-VPA was a very special travel experience. I really knew nothing about taking good photos. After some instruction about framing photos my photographic skills took a major turn for the better. Aarief gave me just the right amount of information in order for me to make significant improvements with my photography. His instruction was more in the form of an ongoing conversation to help me make each day’s photos better than the last. We reviewed my photos regularly throughout the trip with Aarief always giving helpful feedback and encouragement. My very ordinary photography has now turned to a very strong hunger to continue to take increasingly better photos. Aarief was very generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and skills to help me take the best photos I could imagine. I look forward to continuing the photographic conversation!

Margaret Sheahan


Hello Mr. Qadri, I came across your work in World Press Photo gallery online. Great project about the school under the bridge. Your other project, especially the one about drug addicts in Afghanistan are very inspiring. I am a recent graduate of MA Photojournalism from University of Westminster, London. I am currently based in Hyderabad (india). I would appreciate if you could consider me for assisting you on any sort of work. I will see this oppertunity as a learning experience. Thank you. 

Mubeen Siddiqui


Spending an afternoon with Aarief provided a whole new perspective of photography. Aarief shared that taking of great pictures requires to look at any given motif with the question in mind of "what is the story to tell" and start "framing" the motif. Keeping this in mind is very powerful and has changed the way I look at motifs respectively photos. We did a lot of test and try on framing with made it easy to see the difference it make. Aarief has a natural talent to make his "students" feel very comfortable and at ease, allowing for all sorts of questions and providing lots of input. His skills and love for photography are inspiring.



سلام عارف حسین عزیز خیلی خوشحالم از اینکه میزبان حضور شما در ایران بودیم. من مطالب خیلی زیادی رو از شما یاد گرفتم و دیدار شما تاثیر بزرگی در مسیر عکاسی من داشته . امیدوارم دوباره شما رو در ایران میزبان باشیم... بسیار از شما ممنونم

Salaam Aarief, It was an immense pleasure to host you in Iran. It was also an opportunity to learn a lot. Meeting you (during the recent workshop) changed a great deal of my understanding of photography. I hope we would again have an opportunity to host you in Iran. Thank you very much. 

Vida Mahdavipour

Tehran, Iran

Visual Photo Academy have been to Bhutan on several occasions. No matter how many times they visit Bhutan, they always find something new and untouched. With Visual Photo Academy I have seen the unseen and been to places that many had not ventured before. Their photos and shots are not only perfect, but also adds life, essence and story to it. They are passionate about shooting extraordinary pictures. His photos are something unique and new which I have never seen with any other photographers. I have done many photographic tours with different photographers, but the experience and knowledge gained from Visual Photo Academy is totally different from the rest. Their experiences and skills of shooting pictures in the Himalayas is commendable. They do not travel as a photographer, rather they immerses themselves into the lives of their subjects and get the best out of them. There are many to be explored and discovered through pictures. Bhutan is one of the most picturesque destinations for any photographer. So I strongly recommend all the aspirant photographers to be associated with Visualphotoacademy and explore the best. If you want to take some of the rarest shots of Bhutan, you should travel with the VPA. 


Thimpu, Bhutan

Mr. Qadri, Hello! I'm writing to say that I think that your foto of the bathers at the fountain in New Delhi, which was featured in today's Wall Street Journal, is fantastic! It's like a painting with incredible composition and storytelling. Thank you!

Carol Daniels


Hello Mr. Altaf Qadri, I saw your work on and later on your website. Every single photo that I saw was inspiring. I am a self-taught photographer from Delhi and started photography in 2015. I've a particular interest in photojournalism. Is there any chance that I can work with you?

Kimi Singh

Delhi, India

Dear Altaf Qadri, I am an author at Interesting Engineering ( and recently came upon an article regarding a man who offers school for free to underprivileged children in India. I am captivated by the story and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to share the story to the IE community of 7 million people. Thanks, Maverick Baker Author at Interesting Engineering.

Maverick Baker


Dear Altaf, I just wanted to write and say how wonderful your photographs are. It's really inspiring to see such powerful photoessays that draw us in to each situation. Best regards. 

Brett Patching


Greetings Altaf, I am from Poloidal, a firm that organizes various programs for students and professionals. We are planning to conduct a photography event in August. It will be a pleasure if your presence is in the event. Our inspiring participants will be motivated to see such a person and have a chance to talk with.



Dear Altaf, I am writing to ask you if you would be so kind to send me an autographed photo which I can include in my collection. At the moment I have more than 4.000 photos . I started this collection in 1974 and nowadays it is nearly a book of history because there are kings, presidents, ministers, politicians, mayors, scientists, writers, actors, photographers, chefs, painters... Although I send this via internet, I would like to receive your autographed photo by post together with your card, so that, I can include both in my album. Will email you my address soon. Thanks.

Carles Pons I

Puiggròs, Spain

Hello Mr. Qadri, I work with immigrants and refugees and your photojournalism reaffirms my drive to continue in this line of field. I am particularly in love with two photos from "The School Under an Indian Bridge." I am going to back to school and I want to make sure I never forget how privilege I am for being able to do so. Again, I am in awe of your work.... Best



Personal greetings to Mr. Altaf Qadri. I have had it on my heart for several days now to write to you. I get to hear about you while reading "die Zeit" and was very impressed. Sincerely

Marcel Haldenwang


Hello Altaf, many of us Americans read your article on the trash pickers. We were all so moved. Many of us wanted to send money to the woman that you focused the article on. How would we do that. Also, is there a way that we can adopt other familys to help. Just sending 50$ a month seems to be enough to help. Thank you. If you look at the comments you will see many want to help and some are weary. Thank you, your article is so touching. Tammy



Assalamu Alaikum Altaf, Could I help sister Marjina in your below article? I would like to send some money for her. Thanks Hashim


Hong Kong

Altaf, When I read your story about Marjina-rag picker, I felt that I should share some of what I have with unfortunate people who want to make better living and not able to. I will be more than happy to help this family settle down in Hyderabad where I can monitor the progress. Suggest how can I do that or provide details to reach this family. Good work. Thanks, Ravi

Ravi Vuppala


Hello Mr. Qadri, I just read your article about the Indian woman who picked trash and her 2 children. Is there any way you can connect me with her? I would like to send her $50 a month so she can live better. Elizabeth

Elizabeth Fedynich


Dear Altaf, I am very touched by a story and photos that was featured in Yahoo today about Marjina and her children. "She sought good life in New Delhi, but found trash'. I'd like to send some presents to the children, I am not a rich person but someone who cares. I am a fashion designer and an animal rights activist. I've been to New Delhi for work two years ago and had seen many children and families in the street. I wish I could do more. If posible, kindly direct me where i can send Christmas present to the family or small amount of money to help with what I can. Thank you very much. 

Noelle Lai Schiller


Dear Mr. Qadri, Good Day, A few years ago, in 2012, you were credited in an article on entitled "A free school under a bridge in India". Recently, the article had resurfaced on, which is where I found it today. It is a very inspring piece, and the photographs play a vital role in that inspriation. So first, I want to commend you on such fantastic images. The one that struck me the most was the image of the student and teacher reviewing the students notebook. The event itself is an event that can occur anywhere without anyone thinking twice. To me, and probably to many others, the image is captivating because in that moment, it makes no difference that the teacher, Rajesh Kumar Sharma, is teaching under a bridge in a slum, rather the only thing that matters in that moment is the student understanding the material. To me, it is an incredible moment and I wanted to thank you for that. I was wondering if you had any contact with Mr. Rajesh Kumar Sharma since the piece was published? I was also wondering if you know of any follow up pieces since then to see how the school has progressed. In any case, I'd like to reach out to Mr Sharma to see if there is anything that I can do or organize to help his students. Sincerely, 

Sean Coyle


What a privilege - I first discovered Aarief and his incredible photos on Instagram - and I was mesmerised by their intense beauty the stories that they seemed to tell enthralled me and the vast landscapes spoke to me of a place that few would have the opportunity to discover. So when Aareif agreed to let me share some of his incredible images within the pages of my newspaper 1World News - a newspaper for young people, I was over the moon and the feedback since our first double page spread has been incredible - everyone absolutely loved them and the story that they told. I hope that one day I can join him on one of the incredible photographic expeditions that he organises as I know that it will be something to treasure for all of time. In the meantime I look forward to seeing more of his photos and sharing his stories and learning more about these incredible landscapes and cultures. Thank you.

Christine Farrell


Hi Altaf, I just went to a world press exhibition and your work on the open air school in New Dehli struck me. It s full of hope! I, for business reason need to go to Dehli times to times and I just wanted to ask you if the teacher there needs books or any furnitures to conduct his classes. Do you still have any contact with him? I d be glad to help if I can. Congratulation for your work anyway Best Regards, Williams GUITTON

Williams Guitton


I recently returned from another unforgettable photographic journey with Aarief. We travelled to Kashmir, a truly beautiful gem in so many ways. Staying in a houseboat on the Dal Lake and seeing the many historic and beautiful sights in Srinagar was inspiring. However, the journey from Srinagar to the stunning mountains was truly memorable. As we travelled on roads that wrapped themselves along mountain sides I found myself moving closer to the heart of Kashmir. We stayed in tents with nomads and were warmly welcomed to enjoy their humble and yet rich hospitality. I found myself climbing mountains and enjoying "once in a life time moments" that I managed to capture in my photographs. A journey such as this would not be possible without the knowledge and guidance of Aarief. His love and passion for Kashmir and photography are acutely apparent as we traveled on a journey I will always hold dearly in my heart.

Margaret Sheahan


Hi Ataf, My name is Alexandra Fisher and I'm a writer/director based in Zurich Switzerland ( I saw a wonderful photo series that you did last year at the World Press Photo about a man in Delhi who teaches street children. The series moved me profoundly and I've not been able to forget it. I'm interested in possibly doing a documentary on this man and would love to track him down for initial research purposes. I'm hoping to come to Delhi in April or May to do so. Could you give me any information on this man? Would you know where I might find him? I look forward to hearing from you. Best, 

Alexandra Fisher

Zurich, Switzerland

A massive thank you to Arief for the wonderful photographs you have contributed to Tashi magazine, the in flight magazine of Royal Bhutan Airlines Drukair. Thank you for the collaboration. The photographs you send us for the latest issue of the magazine, on Paro tshechu, were awe-inspiring. We just want to thank you you for all the work, time, and sincerity you . put into capturing the colourful Paro tshechu and Bhutanese landscape. The images showcase the Bhutan’s landscape in all its glory. We can't help but tell you we have gotten over whelming complements on the Photo-Essay you have contributed for the issue. You did an outstanding job and on behalf of Bhutan Observer, the publisher of Tashi Delek magazine, would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Managing Editor Bhutan Observer

Thimphu, Bhutan

Having trip with Aarief/VPA to Bhutan gave me priceless experience. My photography skill as well as my perspective into indigenous life were significantly changed (in good way!!) He's very talented photographer and I love the way he shares and teach me. Wish him more and more success in pursuing his passion in life...



Dear Mr.Qadri, I am an amateur photographer from New York and I am big fan of your work. I love presence of depth and texture in your photography and I would love to talk to you and ask you a few questions about your work as well as a critique of mine.

Shristhi Avasthi

New York, USA

Aarief is simply passionate about photography and is keen to develop your personal style of photography. He has a down to earth style of guidance, a good sense of having fun with photography and is very comfortable to be around to ask the big or small questions. I had only a mobile phone and wanted to learn how to frame a scene, and I felt I'd achieved this within only a couple of hours. Can't believe I had developed some confidence to photograph people in my lesson, and for me this was a big achievement.



Mr. Qadri, I recently read "School Under a Bridge" on The Huffington Post. I was moved by the story and the beautiful photos you captured. I teach in the United States in a very low income school. I want to share this story with my students, but I also want to remind them on a daily basis that no matter the obstacle, they all have the ability and the opportunity to learn. I really would like to have one of your photos from this story to place in my classroom to serve as this reminder. I'm not sure if this is possible, or if you would even grant permission. I just thought I would ask. Thank you for your time. Sincerely. 

Sharon Hayden


I spent an evening in a group of novice photographers under the guidance of Aarief. Our main focus was to learn about framing and composition of our pictures. Having dabbled" in photography for the past year I was really looking forward to some inspiration to take my photography to the next level. Aarief certainly gave me that, along with the courage to approach people to take their photos, a real sticking point for me! I had a fabulous evening and can't believe the quality of photos I took in such a short space of time! Thank you, Aarief and VPA, for sharing your passion and skills in photography!



Hi Dear Altaf Qadri, After seeing you picture today at South Bank centre in London from a New Dehli School under the bridge I felt extremely touched... And really want to do something, to help, cant just ignore that... is there anything i can do to help... ?? I am just a middle class person with no much in my bank account, but i have time as time is money as they say, maybe i can help by raising funds... i thought about setting up a crowfunding page to get enough money to actually build up a school... i live in London at the moment please tell me if is anything i can do. Kind Regards, 

Luz Castro

London, UK

Dear Mr. Qadri, I am a Bangalore based amateur photographer. And this is to say that your work has inspired me to take my photojournalism as a serious career. Right now working as a content analyst for Thomson Reuters in Bangalore and looking for a guidance in this field. Many thanks.

Mohammad Shafi

Bangalore, India

I was fortunate to see Aarief's photography at a friend's house. His photography shows a rich range of human compositions in different landscapes, and captures the human experience in a dynamic way. I am sure he leads wonderful photography tours and would teach about different cultures, as well as the skill of photography. Inspiring landscape pictures as well.

Rosemarie De Vries


I was fortunate to join Aarief/VPA on a photographic tour of Bhutan recently. As a novice photographer I gained much insight into the art of taking great photo's. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and passion for photography and Bhutan.

Lidy Van Zoelen


I was very struck by Aarief's passion in his work. His story of finding himself though his love of nature is very inspiring and it shows through his work. A passion for photography and natural beauty can be hard to find nowadays but it is alive in Aarief.

Stephen Willis


Very difficult for me to summerize my comment Aarief, when I have lot more to say about each n ever image you have clicked. I don't know if I should hardly get away with the intense gaze of the boy with big brown eyes or the one among those three (sitting in a symmetry) who seems to be waiting as if slated to be called upon soon by a sudden surprise or should take my eyes quickly of the movements ur capture has impelled into the paused tired foot-steps of nomad women threading across lands untravelled over the times. Should I not admire the magic of devotion in spree or should I cease to feel the chilling endowments retreating down the snowy creamy peaks. Should I wind-up my attention quicly of those mesmerising shades of B&W boarder shots or should leave myself lost somewhere in images of calm monks and vibrant monasteries. I think I should conclude by saying that ur work is a treat of assortment for any photography lover. Your ideas and observance are apposite enough to variegate nature's transitional presentation. Your work is an example of sheer sense of subjectivity. I wish u bright future, prosperity and success now and always.

Neha SK


Aarief is not just a talented photographer but a wonderful person. I met him in Bhutan and he was quick to offer photographic guidance, friendship and kindness the whole trip. I have continued to use his tips long after leaving Bhutan and hope to continue to learn more from him moving forward. I am always inspired by his work and accomplishments. Aarief is warm, easy going, good humored and a joy to know. I am grateful I met him-half way around the world.



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