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Dhaka Street Portraits



Dhaka Street Portraits, photo essay by Mashruk Ahmed

Dhaka is world famous for its urban density. The only mass transit mode in Dhaka City is bus. Recent survey expressed that Dhaka’s traffic congestion is among the heaviest in the world. Riding a bus is an everyday hassle here. In this city get on a bus in pick hour is like a bigger challenge than score gold in Olympic 100 meter Sprint. After getting on bus you have to give endurance test sitting or standing Under the roof of a crow die bus in the middle of traffic jam hour after hour. People Get disgusted, stressed… sometime freaks out because of unknown duration of Terrific jam.
Everyday thousands of people have to go through this hell like Misery for at least two or even more hours whether he/she is going to a destination or coming back home… that doesn’t matter. Every time the very same has to happen to them. Very interestingly demography of a public bus is diverse as like from the day labor to well get-up corporate executive to garments worker – everyone founds a place in a bus. From the suffering middle class to internally displace people of different age to almost every imaginable occupational people is there. Get the window seat is a common priority in bus. Yet Dhaka doesn’t offer any ambrosial view on the road but riders preferred this… So, when I see those window side seated face from outside… suddenly that being like a surrealistic sight of life. Through a grimy glass the face, perception, exposition of life unexpectedly gets a mystic feel. Through my lens I tried to fathom some urban characters cosmic reluctance in his story. I tried to captured some reality of magic in vein the common city dweller thread of exhaustion, discomfort and annoyance. Through my work I tried to show an overall effect of capturing the sweaty and uncomfortable reality of daily grind of city life.
(Text: Imran Ferdous)

Q&A with Mashruk Ahmed

Photography is…
To me photography the medium by which I can express my vision to the world best. Photography is like a language or medium which is understood by everyone in the world.

Who left the biggest impression on you?
The usual suspects of course: Nachtwey, McCullin, Sebastião Salgado, Koudelka, Raghu Rai, Bruce Gilden, Tim Hetherington, Saiful Huq Omi, Andrew Biraj and Abir Abdullah. The work of other great photographers always provide a powerful impetus. I look at the message rather than technique.

Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in Bangladesh. From my childhood I had a dream to be a painter, but somehow the dream was stolen in my dreams and never came in reality. From my childhood I used to use my sister film camera just to take photos. I am currently studying at #Counter_Foto, in Bangladesh, I start the project “Dhaka Street Portraits” as part of a documentary-photography mentorship under the photographer Andrew Biraje.Dhaka Street Portraits” is my long term project. In 2013 when I see those bus window side seated face from outside…suddenly that being like a surrealistic sight of life. Through a grimy glass the face, perception, exposition of life unexpectedly gets a mystic feel. I captured some reality of magic in vein the common city dweller thread of exhaustion, discomfort and annoyance I plans to continue my project “Dhaka Street portrait” for the next several years.

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