Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 28, Tuesday January 11, 2005







Rekindling hopes through photography….

Every imaginable situation has been photographed - the moment of birth and the split second of death, desperation and joy and man on the moon. There is definitely something special about photographs, something in the way they have been shot. Apart from making the ever so common remarks 'Oh!' That's great!', 'Fantastic work' etc, the photographs make you think about and feel the power of the silent images. There is definitely something spectacular in the way they clearly reveal the untold stories before your very eyes. Otherwise why would pictures hit you so hard?

This can be discovered through the eyes of those who have dedicated their lives to the ever-growing abundance of pho|ography. Three such people are Xeter Fryer, Rupert Grey, and Liz Wells who have worked in three different podiums of the world of photography and brought in different grounds and definitions of photography.

"You pho|ograph when you try to speak, when you want to show the world something through your eyes, through your perception"- says Peter Fryer whose photographs on social and political issues, have added a different view to the art of photography. Unlike the millions of shots taken on the destruction, distress, and discrimination of the Palestinians, his photographs at the exhibition recently held at the British Council Auditorium depict the strength of the Palestinian families, their little joys and their only means of survival amidst the impossibilities- hope.

The theme of his photography arose as a result of a visit in 1989 to Bangladesh on invitation by Mr. Shahidul Alam to run a workshop. Christopher Wade then in the British Council Bangladesh suggested the idea of visiting Palestine and since then Peter has never looked back. Ever since 1991 he has been working with Palestinian families throughout the Middle East and in the refugee camps of Lebanon. Today these people are very much a part of his life. He has blended with them as though he is one of them -"I speak their language, I eat with them, I feel the power of their strength through my camera."

"The notion of home is something that we take for granted and yet for Palestinian families home has a different connotation -everyday I watch them living as "foreigners" in their own homeland. They have been living like this for the last 56 years- hundreds of them have lost their family, their homes, livelihoods -Despite all this they manage to smile and hope for a better future," says Fryer.

Most of his photographs are of children who are the inevitable victims of the unresolved issues concerning the continued occupation of their Palestinian homeland. A six year old girl posing for her best look, families engaged in their daily work, the powerful smile of an old lady who has seen it all are perhaps some of his best photographs.

Liz Wells is the Principal Lecturer in media and photography at the University of Plymouth and also a well-known curator in photography in the UK. Her recent books- "Photography: a Critical Introduction" and "The Photography Reader" has added a different view to the understanding of photographs. "I think the most fascinating aspect of photography is the fact that you are able to capture the past - take an example of some of the beautiful sights and cities of the older times, they are gone forever-but today they still exist through snapshots that were captured years back."

On the other side Rupert Grey is a partner of Farrer & Co in UK. He specialises in libel and copyright law and has been involved in many leading cases in the field of media law. Rupert has been a photographer himself and has spent a lot of time traveling with his family and taken some fantastic images of the developing world. Apart from working with various institutes he also advises photographers and syndication agencies on all aspects of copyright law and has been involved in many cases breaking new ground in the copyright field. He regularly lectures, writes, and attends seminars on media law.

To bring contemporary UK photographers and experts to collaborative events with young Bangladeshi photographers and show their creativity to Bangladeshi audiences, the British Council sponsored these artists who succeeded in laying down a remarkable foundation for the young photographer during the workshops at Pathshala.

Someday perhaps the efforts of all these organizations, these people will come true- bringing in freedom through photography.

Photo: Peter Fryer, Courtesy Drik

By Tahmina Shafique


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