// Anwar grew up in the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh and later moved to the capital Dhaka. His photography tells diverse stories, genres ranging from documentary to abstract and nature photography. Anwar shared a series of photos from the eleventh edition of ‘Chobi Mela’, an international photography festival in Dhaka.
In marketing by profession, Anwar´s passion is photography. Other than street photography, he loves taking pictures of abstracts, nature and environmental portraits. “Composition, juxtaposition, storytelling and human emotion attract me the most. However, I also like to experiment. I firmly believe that experiments are the biggest source of learning and it applies to all forms of creative works,” he says. “Honestly speaking, I enjoy my total photographic journey; going out early in the morning, exploring new places, meeting new people, chatting with strangers, walking for 3-4 hours with hopes of getting decent pictures, and so on.” As a photographer, his goal is to find beauty and compelling stories from the everyday mundane scenes and show them to the world.
“Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.”
What draws you to art?
“After my graduation in marketing, I joined one of the largest advertising agencies of the country namely, Unitrend Limited (an affiliate of McCann Worldgroup). While working at Unitrend, I came across many creative people, including photographers, copywriters, graphic designers, visualizers, creative directors, etc. Being able to work with and learn from creative minds, my passion got the boost it needed. My inspirations for photography do not only came from artists or designers or other photographers, but also from musicians, dancers, painters, and even from novelists. I personally think that creative inspirations can come from anywhere.”
What do you like best about the black and white documentary series you submitted?
“I am mostly a colour photographer. However, as a part of my experiments sometimes I take black and white photographs. As per my understanding, sometimes black and white photographs tell stronger stories than that of colour photographs. It is probably because black and white photographs have fewer distractions compared to colour. My primary objective was to play with the available lights and shadows. And in that exhibition, I had plenty of opportunities to play with that.”
These photos were taken at the eleventh edition of ‘Chobi Mela‘, an international photography festival jointly organised by Drik Picture Library and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. The event took place from 12 – 21 February 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The theme for this edition of Chobi Mela was ‘Shunya’.
In the Bangla language, ‘Shunno’ is both a word and a number – an empty space, vacuum, black circle or zero vector, which starts and ends at the same place. With this special edition – Shunno (o), Chobi Mela raises essential questions about its own purpose. Shunno can be an amorphous infinite space, or a home that runs parallel with all others. Shunno is a pure matter-energy in philosophy, detached from a troubled force. After completing ten editions in two decades, Chobi Mela mounts a self-reflective edition, to rethink its relevance and ways of being after the global pandemic. One of the founders of this event is the well-known Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam, who is also a teacher and social activist.
In this series Anwar tried to show how the absence or dimming of light creates an atmospheric sense of emptiness and isolation. “Absence and diminution of light also evoke sad and helpless feelings.” Anwar felt that everyone else visiting this exhibition also experienced such feelings because of the way the exhibition was lit. If, on the other hand, the space had been brightly lit, the visitors´ feelings as well as experiences would have been totally different. “Lights and shadows have an instant and direct impact on people’s minds,” he adds.
Some images are cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the full image.
All photos © Anwar Ehtesham
To see more of his photography visit Anwar´s social media channels.