Behind the lens
There aren't many who get to achieve much in a lifetime, that too at an early age, and there are even fewer who are acknowledged for their accomplishments. This week, Star Lifestyle, on an interview with celebrated photo journalist Farjana Khan Godhuly, provides readers with some insight into her 'constantly on-the-go' lifestyle and delves into some of her most cherished experiences.
At only age thirty, Farjana Khan Godhuly is the first female news photojournalist in Bangladesh, and is currently working for the AFP, the oldest news agency in the world.
The youngest of nine siblings, Farjana has always had a zest for life and harbours a passion for adventure and excitement. She believes that her coming from such a big family may have been one of the reasons behind her thirst to be around and meet new people. One of the many perks of her job includes her seeing many places and meeting new people, which she considers a great achievement and therefore loves what she does.
Although a student from a purely science background, because of her father's ambition for his daughter to follow his suite and become a doctor, she had always felt and hoped that her future lay elsewhere and not in medicine. In fact, with a Masters degree in Political Science, Farjana had virtually no academic experience in photography. However, she did undergo training in photography at the Beg Institute of Art in 1992, when she finally convinced her parents to allow her to pursue her dreams. Since then, her family has been very supportive in her endeavours, because her career has involved her having to constantly prove herself to others in every step of the way.
She began her career in journalism in 1997, when she first landed herself with a job as a reporter at Janakantho. Since then, her career has been one steady slope upwards. She had also worked for Shongbad for three years and having overcome all odds, finally managed to hold a prestigious position at the AFP as a news photo journalist, where she has been working for the last four years.
One of the many life-altering situations that she has faced through her job includes her experiences at Mongla during the cyclone Sidr. Although she had gone fully aware of the risks and dangers involved, nothing could have prepared her for the horrors and destruction that she had witnessed in so short a time. But what truly moved her and gave her a completely new take on life, was the sheer will power and fighting spirit of the Sidr victims. From them, she learnt “We require support within ourselves, more so than in others”. When asked whether she has to face gender discrimination at work, due to the fact that her line of work is still considered a man's job, she smiles and says that this particular issue had initially been somewhat of a problem. Unfortunately, much of this she had to face in her own country, rather than working anywhere else in the world, where she is treated as an individual and a photojournalist. She admits that she has always been envious of the undeniable freedom that the men in our country enjoy. However, she also confidently claims that she has managed to overcome any issues regarding gender, because she feels that her devotion for her work has always been unbiased.
Regarding other areas such as the home front and her married life of six years, Farjana proudly claims that she has always had complete support from her family and husband, who, being of the same profession, is one of the reasons for their both valuing and respecting each others work and timing. On being asked about her lifestyle as a photojournalist, Farjana explains that hers is a 24 hour job, where she is constantly on the move and must always be in contact with her headquarters for updates. There have even been times when she has been called back to work only a couple of hours after she has been granted leave! Nevertheless, she speaks passionately of her work and immensely enjoys the adventure and exhilaration that comes with it.
By Farina Noireet
Photo: Farjana Khan Godhuly
Tips on photography
Since the development of the first permanent photographic image back in the 1820's, photography has been a very important part of our lives. In light of all that, here is a list of some top photography tips that may come in handy the next time you decide to bring out your camera:
Select only the best of your pictures to show to others and leave the rest in the drawer. Showing someone every picture you have taken dilutes the effect of the best pictures and gets very boring.
One of the easiest ways to improve your photography is with careful attention to framing. Look into the corners of the viewfinder to see what is there.
Direction of lighting
Photography is all about light. You must look at your subject carefully and see how the shadows fall.
If you are able to choose the time of day to shoot your pictures, try to pick a time when the sun is low in the sky, either shoot in the early morning or late afternoon. Sunlight behind the subject can give a very pleasing 'backlight' effect.
In camera flash
When you have to use the in camera flash, keep your subject(s) away from walls, especially light coloured ones, if at all possible, and avoid that ugly black shadow which looks like an outline. This will not show up against a dark background.
By Farina Noireet