Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Telling Off The Photographer

I was photographing in a lower-middle-class area of Dhaka where the roads are empty of traffic, children play on their way to school, and grandpas sit on their doorsteps with grandkids on their lap, watching the world go by.

Suddenly I was accosted verbally from behind. "You, sir, why are you taking pictures?" she asked. I ignored her and kept walking. "It won't bring in any money, will it?" she persisted, following me. I still did not turn around, but visually retraced my steps to picture her - probably the matronly mama in her fifties who was chatting with her neighbor a few doors back.

"No, no money," I said, shaking my head.

"I knew it!" she said. "What good are you, taking pictures of the kids going to school and families and people working hard?" She paused, waiting for my reaction. None came but I kept walking.

"See, what you gotta do is find the beggars and lulas (handicapped people) and the sick and take their picture. Then we will be able to get some money. Understand?"

"Oh, I see," I said.

"But, since you insist on taking pictures of the normal around here, why not take the picture of this chatpati wallah woman to your right? And watch for that kid playing up on your left - he is really cute."


Rajib said...

I like reading your articles. Wish you'd update more often :)

viator.incognitus said...

hmm, interesting. a lot of photographers, specially expats here, do exactly that, beggars, extreme poverty, etc, maybe the women was used to that...

ulysses said...

Hi Rajib,

Thanks very much. I will try to do more updates :-)

Hi Viator,

Unfortunate because there are also many good and beautiful things about Bd. Somehow the poverty gets emphasized.