Published: Friday, April 5, 2013

Photographer Amanul Huq passes away

Photographer Amanul Huq passes away

Eminent photographer Amanul Huq, who documented the Language Movement and worked with legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, passed away at Central Hospital in Dhaka on April 3. He had been ailing from age related complications for quite some time. He was 88.
About the iconic figure, portrait photographer Nasir Ali Mamun said, “Huq is considered a pioneering Bangladeshi photographer. He was very close to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Tajuddin Ahmed and other prominent leaders of our country. He took numerous photographs during the Language Movement. His camera also zoomed in on familiar elements of Bangladesh — village life, boats, riverbanks, farmers, rural lifestyle and mustard-fields.”
Huq was born in Sirajganj’s Shahzadpur Upazila in 1925. Encouraged by his father, he started drawing. Later, he studied at Art College for a short span before joining Dhaka Medical College as artist-photographer. He used to sketch human organs for medical students.
Tenacious, courageous and patriotic — these adjectives best describe Huq. He photographed Language Movement martyr Rafique’s maimed face, enraging the authorities. Soon afterwards, the police was after him. After many trials he managed to come out of this dragnet.
In the mid 1950s, Huq moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) from Dhaka and met Subhash Mukhopadhyay. Subhash was very close to Satyajit Ray. He introduced him (Huq) to Ray and Huq showed him his photographs. Eventually, Huq grew quite close to Satyajit Ray and declared that Ray was his guru. In a journal, Satyajit Ray wrote, “I have known Amanul Huq for more than 20 years as a photographer of imagination, skill and enterprise. Over the years, he has kept pace with technical developments and has used them to further his aims as a creative interpreter of actuality. For over a generation, he has virtually recorded every aspect of life in his country, revealing a deep love for Bengali life and culture in all its manifestations. He also has the potential to portray it in film, in documentary form, having been a keen student of cinema and an observer of my working methods in the early sixties.”
Bijoya Ray (wife of Satyajit Ray) was greatly appreciative of Huq’s talent. In her book, “Amader Kotha”, she wrote, “A young man named Amanul Huq came to our house in 1959. His good manners won us over. Manik (Satyajit Ray) liked him and allowed Huq to photograph him. Huq became very close to us, even though for a short period.”
Marie Seton wrote a book on Satyajit Ray titled, “Portrait of a Director: Satyajit Ray”. Recalling her meeting with Huq, she said, “Early in March 1962, and for approximately a year, I saw a considerable amount of Mr. Amanul Huq and his work. I met him with Mr. Satyajit Ray in Calcutta when I went there to stay for the purpose of writing a book on Mr. Ray’s work. I am very deeply impressed by the range of his work, his compositions and the way he captures authenticity at a single moment. I think Mr. Huq is a very outstanding photographer. Mr. Satyajit Ray has the utmost admiration for Mr. Huq.”
Huq received Ekushey Padak. Last year, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Celebrating Life programme, by The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh, for his outstanding contribution to photography.