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     Volume 4 Issue 50 | June 10, 2005 |

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Photography as Art

Elita Karim

Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it may be - Edward Weston

The Shilpakala Academy was bubbling with life last week, when spectators from all around the city came to visit the IIUPE 2005. This was the third International Inter University Photography Exhibition (IIUPE) that was organised by the North South University Photography Club (NSUPC).

This outstanding effort by NSUPC has brought forth an opportunity for young photographers to display their creativity. Around a hundred photographers from 27 universities, namely, NSU, Jahangirnagar University, CUET, Dhaka University, Asian University, BUET, Chittagong University, Chittagong Medical College, University of Asia Pacific, Primeasia University, American International University of Bangladesh, Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology, BRAC University, UODA, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, East West University and Ahsanullah University, participated in this exhibition. Many of them came from Malaysia, Canada, Australia, UK, USA and Thailand.

Oboshishto, Fariha Sultana, NSU, 1st Prize.

"We basically browsed the Internet and looked through a number of universities and colleges that had special departments and clubs for Photography and invited them to be a part of this event." says Labib, the current president of NSUPC.

The weeklong exhibition attracted a number of photographers -- both amateur and professional -- art lovers and also eminent photographers of the country. The rooms filled with both black and white and colour snapshots actually brought out the feelings and thoughts conveyed by the photographer. A particular composition titled 'Join Us', shows a procession taken out during Ashura in parts of Old Dhaka. A shot taken by Arnab, a member of the club, the picture shows one particular religious enthusiast urging everyone around him to join the procession.

"I took the shot from the roof of a building," says Arnab. "The man was actually screaming and beckoning everyone on the roof to join him and the others. The fact that he was using both his hands to gather people seemed to me an unusual contrast to his facial expression, which was solemn, yet quite serious about the whole issue he was about to undertake."

The exhibit also became a platform for youngsters competing against each other and bringing about the best expression possible. Dr Shahidul Alam, director of Drik and a renowned photographer was one of the five-member jury that was formed to judge the contestants. Twenty-four prizes were awarded including four special Jury Awards. With NSU clinching a total of 10 awards in different categories and also securing the first place in the contest, Bangladesh Univrsity of Engineering & Technology (BUET) got the second place with seven awards.

It was in 2003 when NSUPC launched the IIUPE at the Drik gallery with only two foreign universities participating.

Tk -13500 (Without Hasil), Sheikh Rajibul Islam, BUET, 1st Prize.

Even though this year the club has been more successful than before in getting more universities to participate, they still hope to spread to many more regions and attract many more universities from around the world. "There are many universities in Iran, which actually have full-fledged departments only for photography," informs Labib. "They have research facilities, all the modern gizmos, rich history of photography and a huge number of students who actually show a desire to study this art and are absolutely dedicated to it."

With 'Canon Camera- RANGS Industries Ltd' as an Official Partner and The Daily Star and Prothom Alo as Media Partners, this successful exhibition was divided into two main categories: Black and White and Colour and sub-categories of portrait, lifestyle, architecture, nature, action and landscape.

Even Those Eyes can Dream,Sheikh Rajibul Islam, BUET, 2nd Prize.

"The photographs can be seen as a mere reflection of what we see around us," says Fariha Sultana, a member of the club whose 'Oboshishto' won first prize in the "Colour: Still life" category. The composition depicted a bunch of scissors hanging from nails on a decaying wall.

"There are many youngsters like us in this country who actually have a passion for this art." Says Labib. Photography, though very recent as compared to other art forms, actually requires a lot of thinking, imagination and a lot of hard work. It requires the integration of so many elements to bring about a perfect concept of photography and self-interpretation of nature.

"The most important element in photography is probably light, both natural and artificial and how a photographer puts it to the best of use," Labib says further.

The exhibition, which was inaugurated by ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon, the State Minister of Education and Dr. Hafiz GA Siddique of North South University ended last week.


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