Around the world in 40 photos
Abeer Hoque, who is here from the US, writing her book and having published many short stories in the English dailies, is currently having her solo photographic display at the Alliance Francaise Café Veranda. The pictures are a sort of reflection of images, which Abeer has come across in the subcontinent, Bhutan, and European countries. Her novel weaves the lives of many characters who are spread out all over the world; and the pictures are representations of the lifestyles in these different exotic places.
Abeer has had a successful display earlier at Drik Gallery, even though she is still an amateur. However, clicking shutters has been more than a hobby for her in the last two years. The present venture is also interesting and eye-catching, especially when one reads the attached titles and gathers her running commentary pertaining to each image. She searches for unusual angles of places and things. These she drapes in a dramatic play of light and shade. She also takes close-up micro-shots of objects so that they appear more fascinating when the details are studied with finesse. “The objects then become something else,” says Abeer.
The path that leads up to the Tak Sang Monastery in Bhutan, outside Paro is washed in shades of emerald, bringing in the overhanging Spanish moss, with a touch of vermilion here and there to relieve the monotony. The inclusion of the straying horse thus presents both flora and fauna and takes us to Abeer's sleepy “magic kingdom of some sort”.
The shot with the half frozen reddish apple on dark twigs was taken in the Czech Republic. “This was the first snowfall of the season. I'd gone for a walk the following morning,” says Abeer. This too is a picture that speaks of harmony and tranquillity.
The running, laughing and dreaming girl from Bombay is seen as a part of a colourful scenario, has a ruined boat behind her. The frontal image is blurred on purpose and goes well with the realistic background.
The Durga Puja image from Kolkata, where Abeer was walking around a splendid pandal with the goddess of carved wood. There were two elderly ladies who were merrily whispering to each other, as Abeer puts it.
The Mekong River's “Golden Triangle”, where Thailand and Laos meet, has a boat-market of drinks, which people can help themselves to at leisure. The jet-black and gold image, which includes the overhead sky, surrounding trees and water, appears like some Dutch print from Rembrandt's times from a distance.
The focus on Bangladeshi rickshaws whizzing though the streets at night, appearing like some contemporary psychedelic flying chariot is surely unique. So is the street musician with the multicoloured 32-d blobs on the wall that serves as the backdrop.
Even geometrical and floral designs taken from architecture, with details of light and shadow on the walls appear mysterious and thought provoking.
Abeer's exhibit has drawn crowds, and her interesting vision of an admirer should continue to do so in future.