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Linking Young Minds Together
 Volume 3 | Issue 08 | February 27, 2011 |


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Photo : Md. Zabir Hasan

A Sip of Picturesque Madness

By: Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Once upon a time, a brilliant man with cotton candy white hair told the world, “Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times. I just shoot what interests me at that moment.” This man turned out to be Elliott Erwitt, a prolific internationally acclaimed advertising and documentary photographer who became known for his candid shots of the curious everyday. In today's world, such curiosity seems abundant. Almost every block, every corner has an aspiring photographer the same way once there were aspiring musicians. While many perceive such dramatic intrusion into a field of art rather disgruntling, others invite the madness. The fact that there are so many of us thanks to digitisation who have the freedom to pick up a camera and record anything that deems important to the individual is an exciting exercise of democracy. The fact that these moments, which are often carelessly discarded as cliché or photographically hackneyed may one day become the most significant essays of our time.

Lost in the Tunnel, Photo : Farhad Rahman

With this rather philosophical and spirited understanding of photography, the pioneering online photography group, Bangladeshi Photographers has recently organised a photography exhibition titled “60 Shots”. Taglined as the reunion of young souls, the exposition focuses on the energy and expressions of today's youth who have taken up photography as their alma matter. In 2009, the group organised the first season of “60 Shots” that featured over 50 photographers at the open-air gallery in ChhobiHaat, Dhaka. Having received wide accolade, these young people have put their sweat together this year for season two, and what promises to be madness like no other.

Photo : Kazi Tahsin Agaz

Being held at Drik Gallery from 25 February to 1 March 2011, 60 Shots (Season II) features sixty photographers from different walks of life and their respective sixty photographs. From colours of life and pain to the monochrome of death and joy these photographs shout untold stories from the everyday. Personal interpretations of adolescence to serene landscapes, social hiccups to nationalism the exhibition offers diversity that only comes when sixty differences are combined on one page. Why should it not? These youngsters are dynamic, hyped, opinionated, independent, restless and spirited, and anything they put their hearts into becomes an exciting witness of time.

Muhtasim Billah Pritam photographs a young boy on the backdrop of a local train. He tells Star Campus how the boy caught his attention because of his energy.

“He lives in a slum near the rail track, but seemed different from the rest of the kids. While they were playing games, he was walking alone, lost in his own world. When I shot him, I was struck by the aspiration I saw in his eyes. I loved the dreaminess,” explains Pritam. “When it came to 60 Shots, I became fond of the idea of 60 photographers sharing 60 different pictures on one platform. This is the first time my photograph has been selected for an exhibition, and I'm definitely excited!”

Drops of Joy, Photo : Fahim Hossain

Heavenly Smile, Photo : Afzal Ebney Nazim

Meanwhile, Mashroor Nitol is a student at Khulna University of Science and Technology remembered a song by Tagore when he was shooting his photograph. As someone who was staying far away from family and loved ones, he expresses his longing and emotions through his pictures. On the other hand, Nooha Sabanta Maula finds beauty in longing and imperfection. A 10th grader from Sunbeams, her photograph is that of a long stretch of bamboos that forms a bridge and reflects on the water below. She realised while reflecting on the picture how illusions and mistakes are predominant aspects of life, much like the trembling reflections of the shaky bamboo bridge. Will we be able to appreciate life had it not been for mistakes we have made?

Bringing the light again,
Photo : Darshan Chakma

Farhad Rahman's photograph explores a different perspective. It is that of a black-and-white tunnel that captures an intriguing geometric formation. Shot in China, Farhad explains, “This is actually the entrance of a bar. However, photography has altered the perception of reality and makes the entrance look majestic. This is interesting, considering how bars often have negative connotations.” Nawshin Islam's “Tick Tock” offers a simpler interpretation. Shot at home, the photograph is that of a watch that balances a sense of pace and sloth on a red hue backdrop.

A student from Architecture at North South University, Abrar Rahman spends his free time meeting friends and taking pictures. On weekends, he enjoys travelling to new destinations in search of unheard stories, and tries to preserve them through images. His photograph, titled “Dying to Drift” captures a drifting boat on the backdrop of a sunset. He mentions how the ambiance was that of longing and belonging while he was shooting the moment, and the title given by a friend seemed to perfectly fit the environment.

Heavenly winter, Photo : Alimur Rashid

Sumaiya Mehjabeen studies at Bangladesh University of Science and Technology (BUET) and is an active member of Murchhona, the cultural club of the campus. A brilliant singer, Sumaiya divides her time between several art forms. She loves the life in Old Dhaka, and many of her photographs frame the mundane extraordinaire of the area. Her portrait of a chhabiwala symbolises human tendency to discover the right keys that will open doors leading to happiness, peace and earthly delights. Abdul Aziz Apu, a recent graduate from BUET enjoys capturing life, spirit, people and places. Hailed amongst the younger lot as the guru of candid magic, his photograph was shot at Vatiary in Chittagong, titled “In the Metallic Graveyard.” A beautiful and unorthodox composition that depicts a different life uncommon to the common, Apu couples his shot with beautiful poetry.

Photo : Mashroor Nitol

The organisers of the exhibition are just as young as the photographers. During a tête-à-tête, Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo, the 21-year old core organiser and administrator at Bangladeshi Photographers told Star Campus, “This platform was created to provide an opportunity to any young and aspiring photographer in the country. We have combined pictures that have not only been shot in Bangladesh, but also by Bangladeshis living in different countries across the world. Everyone can share their stories through images, and it's exciting to see the different kinds of photography that comes up. 60 Shots is maddening because of the number of experimental shots that are submitted each time, and we never get tired of finding the gem.”

In the Metallic Graveyard, Photo : Abdul Aziz Apu

Chele Bela , Photo : Adnan Arsalan

“To us, it is a unique platform. Young photographers are rarely given the opportunity to share their works in a gallery and are rarely regarded as artists. 60 Shots aims at challenging norms and giving youth the freedom to express themselves through images. Very few exhibitions in the country are organised, and carried through with such youth-centric understanding. Everyone who has either worked here or is participating is below twenty-eight, and they all love it!” added Mohammad Moniruzzaman, mentor to many of the youngsters at the exhibition and also an admin at Bangladeshi Photographers.

Indeed, it feels like madness like no other. At Drik, the walls are coming alive with the million expressions, impressions and stories each photograph is conveying. The energy is almost contagious as the aspiring photographers would sit on the floors in circle in the evening, and strike a few chords to hum to a song of love, life and existence. The gallery springs into rejuvenation as many voices would join the music and exchange moments through laughter, pictures and songs.

Let my heart skip and play, Photo : Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Dying & Drift. Photo : Abrar Rahman

60 Shots (Season II) is an annual exhibition that marks Bangladeshi Photographers' goal at promoting photography amongst all ages and backgrounds. The group founded in 2006 by a few photo enthusiasts has come a long way. Currently hosting over 2600 members with several events, workshops and expositions all year round, it believes in the motto of sharing experiences to enhance knowledge and improve photography in our country. This year's 60 Shots marks a tremendous moment in Bangladeshi Photographers' efforts as it features 60 extraordinary selected images from a total of over 900 submissions. The fact that so many young people are now experiencing photography is wonderful, and the administrators and moderators of the group hope to extend its efforts further in future.

60 Shots (Season II) was inaugurated at Drik Gallery on 25 February 2011 by renowned artists Shishir Bhattachariya and Ferdousi Priyobhashini. Besides the exhibition, it is hosting photography workshops, musical addas and portfolio reviews. The exhibition is still ongoing, so if you have a moment to spare on any breezy afternoon, take a walk down the gallery. The experience will be one that you will not regret!


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