Back in October 2015, on an evening trip to Old Dhaka we were stopped by the police. Since two foreigners had been killed recently we were told we must be escorted everywhere. At first this was a pain having a policeman follow us, but in hindsight it was sensible. The police presence was quite strong that evening as it was a Hindu festival and very busy.
One of the aspects of photography I wanted to experiment with in Bangladesh was shooting from the hip. This is of course not an unexplored area in photography, but I wanted to find a way to break the compositional habits I’ve accumulated over the past several years. Alongside that I’ve found that many happy accidents occur with longer exposures, so I shot on program with low ISOs and let chance decide for me – I’d just click the shutter and point the camera roughly in the right direction.
I was hoping to put together a series of these, but I never got around to shooting this as much as I wanted.
This is one of the more surreal photos I’ve taken. While photographing for a workshop in Cox’s Bazar (the longest unbroken natural beach in the world), I came across a group of boys gathered around something just where the sand meets the sea.
They were clearly excited and slightly afraid of the snake, which was injured and trying to get away. I stopped them from poking it with a stick, and the snake started moving towards the water. As I raised my camera, one of the boys behind me – out of my sight – had thrown a large stone without me realising, and it bounced off the snakes head a split second before my shutter went off. It took me a second to realise what had happened. Needless to say, the snake was dead after that.
It’s been a very long time since my last post about the leprosy exhibition, which went very well. In October I went off to Bangladesh, and stayed there for the next 6 months furthering my photographic practice at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, a school for photography that has produced many fine artists over the past two decades. It was an intense time, but a superb opportunity to experiment and improve through critical feedback.
I’m now processing the experience as well as the 30,000+ photos I took there. As I begin to put together a couple of stories I’ll put up a few photos every now and then on here and get back into the habit of regular blogging.
Here are three portraits from Jaflong, a stone-mining town on the northern border with India. Taken on my Rolleiflex with Kodak Tri-X.
I always have my camera ready when I’m being driven around in a car or on the back of a motorbike. You never know what events might unfold in front of you.
Triptych of boys fighting. Rangpur, Bangladesh 2013
So I’ve been travelling for a little over two months now. I’ve photographed in several parts of Nepal, and I’m now in Nilphamari, Bangladesh. I have a lot to show you, but I’ve been too busy taking photographs rather than editing them.
However I quite liked this rather over-exposed image I shot this morning of some patients having a shave in the corridor of the leprosy hospital where I’m currently at. Looks rather surreal.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to see some more of the places I’ve been, then check out a selection of my best instagram snaps.