Illustrated talk on city

Posted: October 21, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

Photography is an art. People use it for various purposes; to capture beauty around us, to express our own emotions some times in abstract and surrealistic styles. For others it is a tool to document culture and life style of a society.

Eric Kim, one of the famous street photographer and himself a student of sociology has compared photography with study of sociology with camera as a research too. A powerful medium to record history, rituals, festivals and important social issues of the time.

Making worthwhile cultural photography is not as simple as it seems. It requires curiosity to see what is significant around us and a thoughtful selection of what needs to be captured.

In this short presentation I would focus on wall posters and graffiti as an elements of photographic composition.  When used intelligently they blend with an artist’s work and when so combined; often make an interesting social statement.

With examples from my own work, I intend to show that how these can add to the overall impact of a picture. All of the pictures in this presentation are candid street shot taken from Lahore and Rawalpindi with an aim to present urban culture. Life in a cosmopolitan city, has an attraction that one can remain faceless amidst a vast ocean of people, a luxury denied to those from villages and small towns.

A picture is claimed to be worth 1000 words. Ideally it should speak for itself without help of additional description but in this presentation I would need to step in on some points for a bit of explanations.

First picture is about an artist doing wall painting in a drive to beautify the city. The picture shows blending of the artist with her art.

At times these graffiti can be used to create an interesting and even funny situations,



At times these graffiti can serve as an interesting background for a particular seen, either augmenting or interesting contrast with it and highlighting the intent of an artist.

If one has an eye, one can use them to augment a particular emotional element in a picture, thus emphasizing a festive or gloomy mood or even adding a touch of romance to the scene.


Sometimes these posters, paintings have apparently no connection with the scene but a carefully taken angle gives them a meaning as if they belong to the scene.

Like this beauty parlor on the pavement,

or the Kahkashan beauty parlor

Photography is a powerful tool to convey a social message, to start or support a reform movement and also to deliver a biting satire if needed.




This is the picture on which I received the maximum Subhan Allah, Mashal Allah and Jazak Alla. People that that though belatedly, at least I have become a pious Muslims. Better late than never.

This picture was taken on Independence day of Pakistan, when MML was formally launched. I posted it as a documentary evidence of an important change but had to face various objections from different quarters. One of them was that I had tried to glamorize Hafiz Saeed, giving him a larger than life stature; overpowering and dominating law enforcing agencies.

Although this was not my intention,  but that fact is that in our society some people are really more equal than others.

A time to reflect and ponder, what was the dream and what has been the outcome!



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