Ata Mohammad Adnan’s solo photography exhibition, Beyond the Borders, was held at O’Play recently. Adnan is popularly known as the force behind the wedding photography firm, Reminiscence. He is also a doctor by profession. He is credited with being exceptional at capturing the small, precious and genuine moments at any event. For the exhibition, his lens was focused towards mainly strangers, in various parts of the world. Yet, his ability to capture the essence of relationships, love and emotions shone through.
Pictures from a specific region were grouped together alongside a quote describing that area. Of all of them, the one that certainly struck a chord with most people was that of Kashmir’s. “If there is heaven on earth, it is here,” read the quote accompanying the picture. Given the political conflicts surrounding the area over the last few months along with the gruesome tales of horror and inhumane torture, the images automatically held a different meaning. The natural beauty remains frozen in these images, whilst the people of Kashmir suffer through an unimaginable reality.
A section of the exhibition was attributed to couples and love around the world. One that stood out was a photograph of a couple walking in the rain at night, in an otherwise empty road lit up by halogen street lights. The picture seemed to convey a warmth and beauty that most people associate with Kolkata, India. Another photograph taken at a beach in Cox’s Bazar saw a man and a woman in burqa, sitting on chairs a few feet apart, with the sea in the background.
The quote, “Music is the universal language” was accompanied by images of people playing a variety of instruments in different parts of the world. “Faces around the globe” featured portraits of different people with face-paint on, each a representation of their respective culture.
Pictures depicting the natural beauty of Nepal and the cold of London were also exhibited. With a man as proficient as Adnan behind the camera, it felt as though whatever he chose to focus his lens on, told a story. The exhibition was a testimony to the unique way in which he views the world. Even though most of the exhibited photos can be found on social media, those who visited the exhibition were lucky enough to get a glimpse of his world view in the physical realm, which created an altogether memorable experience, different from scrolling through websites on our smartphones.