Photography book launched
Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui
KARACHI: The adage that behind every successful man is a woman, held true on Saturday evening at the IVS Gallery where photographer Arif Mahmood launched a collection of visuals titled ‘Philosophy’, the first of a quartet series. Acknowledging his wife Aesha, Mahmood said it was she who had given him the idea to publish a compilation that was close to him.
Clad in jeans and a charcoal shirt, the soft-spoken photographer explained to an audience comprising mainly of art buffs, that the book was a personal body of work with philosophical themes. He said that human beings were trapped due to circumstances of life because of which everybody had limited choices. Hence, he said, people accepted the ‘cage’ in which they are confined.
The talk was interspersed with a slide show displaying contact sheets, which according to Mahmood, photographers were generally reluctant to share with anyone. Someone in the audience later remarked that by doing so he had brought everyone closer to his thought process.
The images in the book were shown in an exhibition at the Chawkandi Art Gallery in February this year. The idea behind these visuals came about when Mahmood was walking around the House of Hope, a drug rehabilitation centre. He had been clicking away when he noticed a poem ‘Philosophy’. Though it was not a part of the theme of his shoot but he had taken its picture. It were the verses of this poem which had sparked the exhibition, and the book.
Interestingly, the photographs had been on expired film, a medium that has nearly become archaic. But as he said in his presentation, Mahmood continues to use it despite difficulties in acquiring and storing the material. It is his way of hanging on to the film for as long as he can, before he completely succumbs to the digital format.
To a discerning eye flipping through the book, it is obvious that the photographer has departed from his signature style, which Mahmood explained was deliberate, as he had been feeling trapped in his style and was yearning for diversification.