The Other Side of Me
It is my privilege to be able to get behind a lens, making photographs, and finding something interesting in an ordinary place, turning a moment into something more magical, which has power to draw spectators into a different world with full of stories and emotion.
This series “The Other Side” portrays a group of community in Sylhet, Bangladesh that is defined and enriched by lands, rivers, poverty and classes. Its proximity to the subtropical monsoon climate characterized by wide seasonal variations in rainfall, high temperatures and humidity makes the country particularly vulnerable to storms, tides, and changing weather patterns. Ever since I came to United States in 2004, I always wanted to go back and document people life in Bangladesh. After 11 years later I had the opportunity to go back to my root. I began photographing there in the beginning of 2016, which then imbued the project with unforeseen levels of significance. Flooding from the storm devastated the community, and some people lost their homes and everything they owned. These images intimately portray a community on the fringes—environmentally, geographically and economically—yet whose 'fringed' existence became more visible when their vulnerability became more than notional. Having a home so close to the river is like living next to a sleeping giant.
I draw inspiration from people I engage with and photograph them as they are. I would like to spend more time with couple families and photograph their ways of living, to talk some of the oldest store owners, look at their personal photographs, and hear their stories about struggle in life or how they came to work in a farm land or several inspirational stories of survival. Then I would make photographs based on their words, stories, past and current images. My photographs would be a combination of fact and fiction and mediation on the interplay of photography, time, distance, and memory. The project would function as an ode to land of happiness in various ways—via individuals, via businesses, via histories collective and personal.
My photography projects are endeavors to portray people by way of places, places by way of faces, things as suggestive mindsets, moods embedded in contexts. The settings and themes I seek out are those of change or transition, often to imply notions of loss and hope at once. In short, I work with photography as a lens for understanding people, and I hope that viewers see my projects not only as documents of time and place, but also as avenues for self- reflection.