Haroon Abbas Lali – or Agriman, as he’s known on Flickr – uses his mobile phone to take pictures of people engaged in daily activities such as studying, milking a cow or taking a break for a mid-day meal in his native village.
“People get all stiff and formal when they see a camera,” said Lali, 45, a farmer who has been taking pictures since 2007. “But when someone with a mobile phone passes by, they are not bothered. I sincerely believe that cell phone cameras are a better tool to take natural photos than any cameras available in the market today.”
Five of Lali’s pictures are amongst 107 snaps taken by 22 artists displayed at the Nairang Gallery. The exhibition, which aims to bring less-prominent photographers to the limelight, displays the best shots taken by members of the Pakistan Photographers’ Association.
Lali said his pictures at the exhibition of the Chiniot Bridge, of a snow-swept Murree Mall, of an old woman sitting in door way of her mud house, of a teenage girl studying and of a family eating – were taken using a Sony Experia-S. “I will never buy an Iphone. Sony has much better results.”
“We told people via Flickr to send in their best shots,” said Najam Javed, who came up with the idea for the exhibition. Most of the participants are hobbyists rather than professionals.
Javed said that the exhibition had no particular theme, but was merely meant to encourage the amateur photographers. “The point is to tell the world that many unknown artists are doing some excellent work too,” she said.
Javed’s work – close-ups of insects, flowers and raindrops – is included in the exhibition. She said her work was called macro photography, or close-up pictures of very small things. She has been taking pictures for six years.
The pictures taken by Hassan Suhrawardy showed appealing, sun-lit landscapes of Abbotabad and the shrine of Rukne Alam in Multan. Not on display was his most famous picture, shared by thousands of people over Facebook, of a seemingly snow-covered Lahore after a hailstorm in March last year. Having started taking pictures seriously just over a year ago, he has already provided pictures for Dawn and other publications. Suhrawardy said he was considering quitting his job as an accountant to take up photography full time and travel the country taking pictures of monuments and landscapes. “But I’m not ready yet,” he added.
Qaiser Hafeez Taqi, 40, had captured the street life of Lahore and portraits of old men and children. He said every school should offer photography classes as taking pictures enables one to look at the world differently. He said he started out five years ago and now carries a camera at all times.
Shots of Hiran Minar and Bashahi Masjid by Usman Hayat stood out for their unique composition. Hayat used a high-dynamic range technique that enables the photographer to capture details in shade too.
“Basically, I combined three exposures to take these pictures,” he said.
His work also included a picture of a tiger at Lahore Safari Park, and green pastures on either sides of the Lahore-Islamabad motorway.
The pictures at the exhibition, which runs from July 15 to July 23, are priced between Rs10,000 and Rs16,000.
Saim, curator at the Nairang Gallery, said the exhibition was originally supposed to end on July 20, but it had been extended for three more days because of the positive response.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.
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