With its sun-kissed stretches of sand, shimmering blue and jagged coastlines battered by white breakers -- Cox’s Bazar sea beach never gets old.
Every trip to this longest natural sea beach -- strolling along the shoreline with loved ones -- lasts forever, and creates wonderful memories through moments captured in photographs.
These days, due to availability of affordable smartphones, capturing a sunny scene of sprawling sand and sea have become much easier as every one literally has a camera in their pocket.
Still, to capture a moment with precision, finding the right spot or choosing the most attractive or interesting aspects of the scene and most importantly to be part of that special instant, a little help always comes handy.
And to facilitate that experience, there are over a thousand photographers roaming around Cox’s Bazar beaches, ready to take snaps.
One of them is Sagar Ahmed, a licensed photographer, who started his career as a studio assistant around 20 years ago.
“We have also adapted to technology,” said the 36-year-old. “I take pictures of visitors with a DSLR camera and transfer them to their mobile phones right away.” He said a photo costs around Tk 3-5.
“It was not like this before. After taking a photo, we had to develop it at a studio, which was time consuming. Now, we can either transfer soft copies or deliver print ones instantly. Our number of clients has also increased,” said Sagar.
In Cox’s Bazar, photography has opened a window of opportunity for many.
Giasuddin, 13, a madrasa student at Ukhia, earns around Tk 15,000 a month taking pictures of visitors during peak season (December to February), which also helps him continue his studies. He said he mostly works at Inani and Patuartek points.
“I had to stop going to school due to my father’s illness. My elder brother, who is a professional photographer, taught me how to take pictures. Now, I also support my family,” he said.
“I work alongside authorised photographers and at times, substitute for them,” he said. “I can give a client studio print within 30 minutes or transfer pictures to their phones instantly,” he prided.
According to the district administration, there are around 1,100 registered photographers working in the beach town -- at Kolatoli, Sugandha, Laboni, Inani, Patuartek and Moheshkhali points and Saint Martin’s Island.
Besides, around 400 teenagers, who borrow cameras and uniforms from the registered ones, are also involved in this profession.
Visitors are also quite upbeat about the experience.
Naznin Akhtar, who visited Cox’s Bazar recently, said, “It’s true that we can take photos with our phones but their [photographers’] framing and angles are much better. In some pictures, the photographer either went low to the ground or shot at eye level with the waves or placed the beach umbrella off centre.”
Having an additional subject in the frame helped break the linear lines of sand and sea, and added an extra intrigue to the shot, said Naznin, an amateur photographer herself. “It was our honeymoon and the pictures came out perfect,” she smiled.
Contacted, Cox’s Bazar Executive Magistrate Saiful Islam Joy said they have brought the sector under surveillance and guideline. “We have provided uniforms and registration cards to the photographers. The cards can be renewed yearly.”
There are two types of photographers -- studio-based and those on the beach, he said.
About the unauthorised ones, Saiful said as they are using cards of the registered photographers, they are also under surveillance.