Issuu on Google+


2

This book is dedicated to Jyoti and Mannat - the two loves of my life. My sincere thanks to Jamal, Juise, Rokeya, Smita, Ujwala & Zeba for making this possible.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Special thanks to Ujwala for all the support she has given me on this SoFoBoMo project right from day-one to day-last. The back-cover photograph and book cover design are by Ujwala.


a month 6 artists and

a book

3


4

It’s been a bit like a roller-coaster ride, this SoFoBoMo [Solo Photo Book Month] project, fast, exciting and enjoyable! The idea of selecting a specific subject, determining a photographic approach, creating a schedule that would fit exactly a month or less [and sticking to it!] and then going out and doing it was appealing to me. Announcing my intent to participate in SoFoBoMo to the others in the group, meant there was no turning back. Intent to participate was tantamount to intention to complete. I liked the challenge it offered. Not to prove anything to anyone else, but to participate in a project and process that would give me insights into an area of photography I'd never attempted before - to make images specifically for producing a book. I considered several themes. The ones based on subjects in nature were "easy". I then considered doing a series of photographs based on reflections and silhouettes, interesting but not enough! Street photography crossed my mind, soon dispelled because candid photography does not interest me much. Faces: that is what I wanted to do - but who and how many, and what would be the common thread between a series of faces? I like the intimacy and direct engagement of portrait photography - not the set-up studio style portrait photography - but direct one-to-one. So here was my opportunity - I'd always wanted to photograph artists, or craftsmen, or sculptors or weavers at work. I called up my artist friends and explained what SoFoBoMo was all about and what I was planning to do. Each one of them was happy to participate, and all I had to do next was setup schedules for the photo sessions. Cake walk!

a month 6 artists and

a book

The idea was to photograph these artists at work, with the least amount of "set-up", and to create a sort of working portfolio section of each. Some people are less conscious of the camera than others, so I had to use a different approach for each. I tried to capture the persona and the essence of the personality rather than make pretty photos. I hope that I was able to convey this, and some of the intimacy, that develops between the photographer and the "photographee!". A bit of technical background All images were made with a Nikon D2Hs DSLR and 3 lenses: mainly a Nikkor 17-55mm DX, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8. Some shots were done with the Nikkor 18-200 VR, Sigma 10-20mm and a LensBaby - but just a few. My initial plan was to try use just one prime lens - either the 50mm or the 85mm - or at most to use just these two primes. A nice thought, and very noble, but very limiting! I used artificial light for many shots: two and on occasion three Nikon SB800 strobes off-camera. All images were shot in RAW format and processed in Adobe Photoshop CS3 to convert them to TIFF/TIF files. Minimal adjustments were made during the processing stage, which also meant that I scrapped and culled many [good!] images that might have required any extensive post-processing beyond 10 minutes per image. I am not adverse to extensive post-processing for images that I know will make a nice end-product, but there were time constraints involved here and I wanted to keep a level of similarity between all images in this book.

I do hope you enjoy this book. Anil Advani


5 WHAT is SoFoBoMo all about anyway? I quote from Paul Butzi, the person who started it all: It's called SoFoBoMo because it's fun to say, and because it's easier to type than NaSoPhoBoMo. I dropped the Na part because it's clear at the outset that it's involving photographers from around the world, and thus it really ought to be InSoFoBoMo, but again that's just too much. SoFoBoMo is just right. When is Solo Photo Book Month? Because we're just getting started, we're doing a fuzzy month. You should pick a 31 day period that starts no earlier than April 1, 2008, and ends no later than May 31, 2008. In other words, if you start on April 1, your month ends on May 1. If you start on April 15, your month ends on May 15. Having everyone do it exactly at the same time would be nice, because it would allow for maximum sense of camaraderie, but everyone has different schedules and this fuzzy month start/finish plan buys some of that without the inflexibility. How many photos do I need for the book?

a month 6 artists and

a book

35 - large enough that it can't be flung together from a single afternoon's photography, short enough to be doable. I understand that for some folks 35 is big number. For the folks who have been running photo-a-day photoblogs, it's child's play. 35 is a reasonable compromise. It's the number of photos in the book ÂŤThe Gift of the CommonplaceÂť, a book of photographs by Ruth Bernhard. If it's long enough for Ruth Bernhard, it's long enough for us. UPDATE: You can have more that 35 photos if you like.


6

SAIDUL HAQUE JUISE painter ~ puppet maker ~ paper-folding mask maker.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Juise has a special and unique technique of folding paper to create three dimentional masks. This tecnique was developed by Juise after studying old traditional mask making methods from the region. He completed his post-graduate studies in Fine Arts from Dhaka University and went on to assist a famous Bangladeshi pupet maker. His puppets and masks have delighted children and adults alike. One sees many Stage-sets, TV and Theatre sets produced by Juise, and each one of these is a unique piece. The Bangldeshi version of Sesame Street, called "Sisimpur", and Juise was the creator of the sets for this TV series. His repertoire includes mask making, paper folding, painting, puppets, muppets and stage-sets. His work often reflects his strong political and social statements.


Saidul Haque Juise


8 a book a month 6 artists and

I wanted to get a portrait of Juise against one of his paper and sand sculptures which were hanging in that room. Juise could not keep a straight face and we had a lot of laughs trying to set-up the lights and get him into position. He kept looking ÂŤskywardÂť and joked about how artists are supposed to have a vacant far-away look in their eyes for portraits. LOL! I gave up for the day.


Saidul Haque Juise


10

Juise was making the props for a play by Dhaka Stage called "Little Shop Of Horrors". Some were small and this one was massive.

a month 6 artists and

a book

The separate articulated arms with each finger joint movable separately was lying in the shed. Amazing creativity!


Saidul Haque Juise Detail from one of Juise's massive paper-folded masks.


a month 6 artists and

a book

12


Saidul Haque Juise


14 a book a month 6 artists and

Printed and painted fabric cut-and-glued.


Saidul Haque Juise


a month 6 artists and

a book

16


Saidul Haque Juise Layers of fabric, partly painted, cut-out and ripped to create the bird.


a month 6 artists and

a book

18


Work in progress.

Saidul Haque Juise


a month 6 artists and

a book

20


Saidul Haque Juise Juise's workbench. We had a power outage [one of several that we have every day], and I had just stepped into his small ÂŤofficeÂť to setup 2 SB800s to take some photos of the workspace. It went completely dark in there when the power went out, I was able to focus on something, cant remember what, and took 4 frames in quick succession. This one was fairly in-focus.


22 a month 6 artists and

a book

Juise working on a set of birds - these sculptures are made from paper mostly. He has a unique and special technique that he has developed. All his paper masks are folded-paper even though these might appear to be papier-mâchÊ to the uninitiated.


Saidul Haque Juise


24

FAREHA ZEBA. Painter and Art-teacher.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Zeba, as she is fondly called by all friends, has a quiet demenour but paints with great authority and her works convey powerful social messages. The paintings shown in this book are painted on ply-wood, which is layered to create a 3 dimentional surface - the painting extends from layer to layer and this adds to the uniquness of her work. Zeba and her husband Juise run a art school at their home studio for children from the age of 3 as well as for adults. Their sprawling garden also reflects their creativity, with plant holders logs of wood carved and planted with exotic plants... their studio extends into all living spaces in their home.


Fareha Zeba


a month 6 artists and

a book

26


Fareha Zeba


a month 6 artists and

a book

28


Fareha Zeba


a month 6 artists and

a book

30


Fareha Zeba


32

Smita Srivastava. Painter.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Smita paints portraits and landscapes. Her colors are bold and vivid. I spent a couple of hours at Smita's studio, talking about her new paintings while she was working on a few consecutive canvases with acrylic paint. The most interesting, was how she works some of her paintings up-side-down and gets all the background effects she wants... then flip them over right-side-up and work the details....Apparently, working with the painting «backward» she looks at her compositions completely differently, and sees things unlike me as a bystander did. Only when she started to point out what was going to happen next, and what the smaller details were did I see it «her way».


Smita Srivastava


34 a book a month 6 artists and

Smita contemplating. This photograph was taken from in front of the easel and Smita is reflected in a tall mirror that was in the back of the room.


Smita Srivastava The paining in progress - turned straight side up now and I begin to see what Smita was getting at.


a month 6 artists and

a book

36


Smita Srivastava


a month 6 artists and

a book

38


Smita Srivastava


a month 6 artists and

a book

40


Smita Srivastava


42

Ujwala Prabhu. Painter.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Ujwala devotes most of her time to painting. A prolific artist. Painter of portraits and "people going about their lives". Creates portraits that convey more that what meets the eye. She paints with a wide variety of media and paints on almost any surface that is paintable or available to her the moment a creative urge come on! One of the most active bloggers I know. She has several art blogs and I've lost count of how many! Ujwala is one of the easiest persons to trace on the internet, just search "Ujwala + Art" and you'd get 100's of listings.


Ujwala Prabhu Evening on the balcony or her lovely home facing Baridhara Lake, Dhaka.


a month 6 artists and

a book

44


Ujwala Prabhu


a month 6 artists and

a book

46


Ujwala Prabhu "Ekla Cholo Re" When there is a heavy load to bear, sometimes you need to walk alone. Inspired and named after Tagore’s beautiful, nationalistic poem, “Ekla cholo re”. It is an exhortation to follow your heart, alone if necessary. - Ujwala


48 a book a month 6 artists and

"Paan khaye" from her Ashulia series.


Ujwala Prabhu

"Nothing comes from Nothing" Nothing ever could‌. or so I firmly believed. Actually, that is a bit of an exaggeration. I felt that I needed to learn a lot more before I could just sit in front of a blank canvas and start to paint. I was given two challenges by my friend Sangeeta during my recent visit. One was to make an abstract piece and the second was to paint something without a reference. This started out as my attempt at making an abstract piece and then before I knew it it had turned into a face or at least what I thought resembled a face . Acrylic on canvas. Made the background first with a largish bristle brush and the face with a palette knife. Ujwala.


50 a book a month 6 artists and

"Stop! or else" from her Dhaka street series.


Ujwala Prabhu


52

Rokeya Sultana. Painter.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Another very well known painter from Bangladesh, both here and internationally. She paints with various mediums, acrylic and tempra figure high on the list. Her work is Bold and Brilliant. Her colors are unique because she creates her own by mixing various natural pigments and commercially prepared paints. Rokeya's unique colors and hues and the blending of abstract design with reality are what makes her work so striking and special.


Rokeya Sultana


54 a book a month 6 artists and

Rokeya showing me her sketches. Most of these are done while she travels. Portraits done of interesting faces, and then she gets the person to write their name on the sketch.


Rokeya Sultana

Rokeya working on a large canvas, using her very unique techniquies. The pool of water on the painting is how she creates those wonderful textures and details in her work. Pigments, tempra, acrylic color are added to pools of water and then she will use various methods to make the pool dry up either slowly or quite fast depending on what effect she wants. Absolutly amazing. She can create any shape and texture she wants and has complete control over the outcome. Nothing is "by chance".


a month 6 artists and

a book

56


Rokeya Sultana Showing me how and why.


a month 6 artists and

a book

58


Rokeya Sultana


a month 6 artists and

a book

60


Rokeya Sultana


a month 6 artists and

a book

62


Rokeya Sultana


64

Jamal Ahmed. Painter.

a month 6 artists and

a book

Jamal Ahmed is a well known Bangladeshi painter, both in his home country and internationally. He is easy-going and soft-spoken, which belies his high-energy style of working and the power of his work. I was amazed at the speed at which he sketches, and most of all that he hardly looks at the paper or canvas while sketching. His eyes are on his subject and his hand is working on the paper..like a stylus being fed information from a sensor or lens Eye - Brain - Hand.


Jamal Ahmed


66 a book a month 6 artists and

An absolutely fantastic day! I had thought we'd do a fast paced one or an hour and half session at his studio. It turned out that Jamal sets his own pace and it will take its course. Not that he is ÂŤslow pacedÂť - he is a highly energetic person. So we started out by talking about various stuff... several of his friends drop-by..... We then head out to the University of Fine Arts. Jamal is a Art Professor there. Met his students. Photographed them at work. We go back to Jamal's studio and then we sit down to a home-cooked lavish Bengali meal. Delicious! Jamal tells me he has a special treat for me. One of Jamal's regular model who was at the Art College is going to be coming back to his studio - Jamal is going to sketch him while I photograph the proceedings. Wow!


Jamal Ahmed Pagla Baba is seated on the floor and is asked to place his head in the crook of his arms. And then Jamal goes to work - full of energy, it looks like a movie being run at double speed!


a month 6 artists and

a book

68


Jamal Ahmed


a month 6 artists and

a book

70


Jamal Ahmed


a month 6 artists and

a book

72


Jamal Ahmed


a month 6 artists and

a book

74


Jamal Ahmed


a month 6 artists and

a book

76


Jamal Ahmed


78

© COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All images contained in this book are copyright © Anil Advani. All material contained herewith may not be copied, altered or distributed in anyway without the written permission of Anil Advani. Published by Anil Advani 15th May 2008 Dhaka, Bangladesh All Rights Reserved

a month 6 artists and

a book

© COPYRIGHT 2008


79

CONTENTS

a book

2 4 5 6 24 32 42 52 64

a month 6 artists and

Dedication and thanks Introduction What is SoFoBoMo? Saidul Haque Juise Fareha Zeba Smita Srivastava Ujwala Prabhu Rokeya Sultana Jamal Ahmed


This book is the result of stumbling upon Paul Butzi's idea for SoFoBoMo in January this year or Solo Photo Book Month - amateur and professional photographers would choose a one month period starting no earlier than 1st April 2008 and ending no later than 31st May 2008, photograph no less than 35 images, and create a book. The choice of subject matter and medium was left open to the photographer. The first part was relatively easy – taking photographs. The second part of organizing these and putting them in a sequence so that you, the viewer, would get a sense of what I intend to convey took a while but I got there. I say, “viewer” and not “reader” because this book is to be published online and a printed copy is unlikely. At least not for this project. Having finished this exciting project, I'd now like to make a few more . Subject matter for a photo books are abundant in Bangladesh. Rivers; Boats; Boatgypsies, Tribal communities, Traditional weavers; Historical buildings, temples, mosques and havalis; this list goes on…Coming back to the third part of producing this book: Writing the text. Now, this turned out to be the hardest part of all! And, finally the technical issues involved in making of such a book – a learning experience with a steep but quick curve. I've always wanted to photograph my artist friends, especially while they are at work doing what they do. For this SoFoBoMo project I called on four Bangladeshi artists and two Indian artists who are currently living in Dhaka, and was able to sweet-talk them in participating: Fareha Zeba - Saidul Haque Juise - Smita Srivastava - Ujwala Prabhu - Rokeya Sultana - Jamal Ahmed. Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did the process of making it!


A Month 6 Artists and a Book