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     Volume 4 Issue 11 | September 3 , 2004 |

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In Tanvir's Dream

Mustafa Zaman

In our dreams things appear in a strange light. They stand a world apart from our everyday experiences. Tanvir, a young photographer seems to want to look at things with that borrowed sense of strangeness. However, while doing so he used an advance mode. All of the works that Tanvir puts on display at the Drik Gallery were changed by the means of the computer technology. "I have found out that there is immense freedom in transforming the images applying Adobe Photoshop," exclaims Tanvir, whose doctored images sparked off both interest and controversy among photography lovers. Both were expected; and as for criticism Tanvir is opened minded, he is receptive to what other has to say about his work.

Tanvir calls this show "In My Dream," and stresses that to attain a dream-like effect that he used the computer as a means to mutate his normally captured images. "One particular programme was used to change the colour of all these images. I did not resort to any other manipulation rather that what is available in 'Curve', Tanvir confirms.

It was to create an illusion of dream that Tanvir had applied computer graphics. He has dreamed of an exhibition of this nature a long time age. In fact, the collection of images that were on display from August 20 to August 26 is the transformed photographs that he built up in accretion. He spent one whole year to take close-up and detailed nature photographs with this exhibition in mind.

In his show reality is on fire. The sense of combustion is born out of the imposition of colours that jar with the subjects that Tanvir tackled. To quote from the creator's own word, "I imagined these series of photographs as being far apart from reality, yet, I thought they would also connect one to the recognisable world."

Tanvir has succeeded in his effort. Yet when one calls it a project to explore 'dreams,' an irrational train of thought crowds the mind. Dreams are complex amalgams, where hopes, fear, loss and many other emotional remnants dilutes the conscious -- or should one say subconscious -- mind. In this show, this aspect of dream is completely avoided.

Most of the pictures are unpeopled. Only carefully composed images of nature that were filtered through magical colour-enhancing ploy possible through the computer constituted his oeuvre. It seems the photographer wanted to redefine the familiar. It is like reality seen through the filter that play havoc with the known patterns of things because of contrasting juxtaposition of colours. In many a work shadows takes on a strange new colour and almost end up bestowing each image with a whole new pattern.

However, behind all this outburst of colours and patterns, the sole motivating factor was to attain beauty. Only few of his works evoke emotions unrelated to beauty. One such outstanding piece depicts a crow amidst trees with small leaves that look like sprinkly patterns. The sepia dominated work is an iconic homage to the meditative gesture of the crow. It imbues in the onlookers a romantic longing for a past that one may not even had the chance to experience. Perhaps this is what dreams are all about.

Tanvir avoided projecting images of humans in these works on the premise that once one put a man within the frame "he or she should be treated with respect." He is unwilling to course humans through the same mutation. "When it comes to humans I am against any kind of distortion. I even dislike it when portraits are being taken using the wide-angle lens," explains Tanvir. Between him and his human subjects he can never overlook the element of 'respect.'

While confronted with the most obvious question of how he chose to become a photographer, he blurts out, "It runs in my blood." It was his father, the banker, who had a passion for photography. Though the father had to give up his pursuit, Tanvir, the son, soon followed suit. He picked up his first camera in 1982. "At first it was just for the fun of it," Tanvir explains. His first professional foray occurred in 1987. "It was no different from what I used to do before. I just started getting paid for something that I enjoyed doing," he recalls his transition to the world of professional photography.

"In My Dreams" is Tanvir's second solo; the first one took place way back in 1992. "It was a black and white show, a mode that I still want to work in but the expense thwarts my ambition," says Tanvir. He adds that now there are less and less facilities to pursue one's work in black and white. "Times have changed, we grew up during a time when we were exposed to a lot of black and white works and it influenced us. Now, for the new generation, that very thing has changed and colour photography is catching on." However, Tanvir still has plans to work in black and white, though he admits that it has an abstracting effect on the subjects.

Getting a book published is more important to this thirty-plus photographer. He has the plan to bring out a book that will explore his immediate realities in a positive light. "Too often Bangladesh has been shown in a starkly negative light, I want to portray a completely different picture, which would also derive from our own reality," Tanvir proclaims.

UPL has already published a book titled "post card," where his works are featured among two other compatriots. Busy with his assignments to meet the need of the organisations that frequently hire him, Tanvir continues to pursue his own passion to further his dream. He also has the plan to come up with a sequel to the present show.



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