Extraordinary Portraits tonight shares inspiring story of paramedic Araf

Tonight’s episode of Extraordinary Portraits sees photographer Brock Elbank paired with Scottish paramedic Araf.

Host Bill Bailey returns this evening (31 July) for a brand new episode from the third series of the BBC One show.

In the captivating third episode, Bill Bailey teams up acclaimed photographer Brock Elbank with Araf, a trailblazing figure in Scotland’s medical community. Araf, Scotland’s first Asian paramedic and recipient of the prestigious King’s Ambulance Service Medal, has a remarkable journey that led him to this vocation.

Brock Elbank, Bill Bailey sit together on a sofa and pose for the camera
Extraordinary Portraits: Brock Elbank, Bill Bailey. Credit: BBC/Chatterbox

Twenty-six years ago, Araf’s life took a profound turn when he witnessed paramedics in action while attending to his mother’s cardiac arrest near Glasgow.

The experience stirred something within him and he made a life-changing decision to pursue a career in the Scottish Ambulance Service. In doing so, he achieved the distinction of becoming both the first Muslim and the first South Asian paramedic in the region.

Beyond his life-saving duties on the road, Araf goes above and beyond to serve his community. He collaborates with local mosques and gurdwaras, imparting vital first-aid knowledge and acting as a bridge between diverse communities.

To capture the essence of this extraordinary man, photographic artist Brock Elbank steps into the scene. While Brock’s early career thrived in high-end fashion, his passion for spotlighting the often overlooked individuals in society has guided him onto a different artistic path.

His photographic projects are dedicated to celebrating idiosyncratic and unique features, delving into stories behind scars, birthmarks and skin conditions like vitiligo.

With his keen eye for capturing the essence of a person’s private narrative behind their public persona, Brock embarks on the challenge of encapsulating Araf’s incredible journey in a single photograph.

As he seeks to reveal the heart and soul of this exceptional paramedic, the episode unfolds into a powerful exploration of Araf’s inspiring story, brought to life through the lens of a true photographic artist.

Extraordinary Portraits airs at 8:30PM on BBC One and iPlayer.

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