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       Volume 10 |Issue 02 | January 14, 2011 |


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"Lost”, a thought-provoking photo exhibition, which opened at the Zoom Gallery of Alliance Francaise on January 7, has Maruf Hasan, as the brain behind the project. The display deals with preservation of environment, and not just picturesque scenes of rural landscapes or portraits of smiling children.

Hasan was interested in photography since his schooldays. He did a course with “Bangladesh Photography Institution” in 2000, with 15 well-known photographers to guide him. His teachers included Rashid Talukdar and Imtiaz Alam Beg, the son of MA Beg. “They provided us with cameras and films, we learnt to develop photos, and gathered information about dark-room techniques. We were taught how to take portraits, action photos; news-coverage in a three-month basic course. We then went on to the 'advanced' course which led to a diploma with a year's training. We also studied post-production: like framing, dark room know-how for black and white films as well as coloured films.”

Lost Rhythm.

Hasan says, “The course was expensive for our age. Getting money from the family was not easy. It was big experience for me, however. The course included seeing 1969 photos without alterations and watching documentaries of 1969, 1971 and 1975 (assassination of Sheikh Mujib and other such critical news."

“What was good," says Hasan, "was that a photograph won't tell a lie, when the man behind the camera is honest.” He said that they were taught to improve the quality of the films by themselves. Nowadays, he says, the photographers have many more opportunities. However, they were taught how to handle the camera adjust the aperture; regulate the speed. They had no auto-focus as they do today in the digital camera. The digital camera of today, he says is much easier to handle, and the photographer had more time to concentrate on the subject. Hasan adds that he worked as a freelancer for various dailies, in order to check his improvement as a professional.


At first, says Hasan, he focused on people in news: hazards of child-labour – where children were working in risky conditions. He began with conventional scenic beauties. Later, he progressed to man seen working in situations contradictory to nature, leading to greenhouse effect. He stresses on the passive part played by man in nature, not realising what he is dong – in the name of civilisation, such as brick making, leading to smoking chimneys.

The ugly part of civilisation, which appeared on the earth, in the name of urbanisation, is held up in Hasan's photographs. The migration of the rural people to the town –without any social security – is also shown in the display. “The changing bio-diversity is very rapid today and this should be arrested,” says, Hasan.

Hasan's first exhibition dealing with evils of urbanisation was entitled “Urban Lifestyle. Cannibalisation the Rural Lifestyle, and Environment Degradation”.

Lost in a Metro.

The present exhibit, “Lost”, also in colour, records the irrecoverable changes of ecology like the weather. This year, for instance, there was no specific autumn, when there were clouds but no rain, reported Hasan, the weather specialists. The pattern of rain changed. Last year, between the beaches of Cox's Bazar and Teknaf, the Marine Drive was devastated by vicious waves.

“I've also focused on a child, working on risky hardware (galvanising metal sheets) which is illegal, according to both ILO and local law enforcing agents but this goes on ad lib.” If sent to school for conventional education, in the given time, they won't be able to earn for their families, who depend on their income.

“Similarly, there is the mechanical vehicle in North Bengal, in Pabna, Sirajganj and Natore, a shallow irrigation motor-pump which is not mechanically sound. Due to the use of this locally –devised machine, there are a lot of disabilities and death rates. The accidents are recorded at the health complexes.

Hasan's photographs are not altered at postproduction.

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