Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Stargazing in Lahore: An Overview

A day before I flew out to Lahore I went to Argos and bought three large boxes of duracell batteries for my cheap second-hand Olympus camera. Although I didn't quite have a plan for what I would being doing in Pakistan for the next three months, I did know that I would be taking a lot of pictures. I have always been interested in photography and the powerful role images can play in challenging views, changing perceptions and facilitating change. Over the last few years I have worked on various writing, art and photography projects all of which have sought to override shallow and reductive representations of certain nations and peoples and go deeper in conveying a sense of shared humanity through emphasizing our similarities over our differences.

Guarding the Fort, 2012. 
Pakistan is currently ranked the fourth most dangerous country in the world - plagued with calamities such as political instability, frequent natural disasters and terrorism. When I first arrived in Lahore I half expected to be met by angry mobs, explosions and hordes of dengue mosquitoes on the prowl. The reality of life (in Lahore at least) was not so dramatic- or menacing! And although my first few weeks had been pretty hard living especially with the constant cuts in power, gas and water, it wasn't half as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. During my three months of working and living in Lahore I discovered a new Pakistan, one which often remains hidden from the public eye. It is a beautiful Pakistan filled with colour, magic and intrigue. Despite all its problems, to me, Pakistan remains one of the most interesting places in the world and I found the people living there to be incredibly resourceful, sincere, generous and spirited. This is what I wanted to capture through my photography. I wanted to take pictures that depicted the true reality of everyday life in the city. I wanted to capture images that told stories and really conveyed the essence of the people I came across. 

What really struck me was the resourcefulness of the people of Lahore, very rarely did I come across someone begging, rather one would always have a service on offer- one man would be selling balloons,  another mending pots on the side road, a few children would gather shoes to shine. The people made the best of what they were given- they worked hard to receive the little they got.

Weigh Yourself, 2012. 
Balloons and Crisps, 2012. 
I also wanted to capture the colour and the mysticism of Lahore, for all the stereotypes perpetuated of Pakistan as a dark, dangerous and violent country, I found the city to be a very colourful place from soft pastels to garish neons, colour was to be found everywhere, on buses, trucks, markets, peoples clothes, decorations, even the graves, this to me reflected the qualities I found in many of the Lahori people I came to meet. A side that presented a certain creativity, humour, playfulness-all very human qualities.

Techni-Colour Truck, 2012
Wazir Khan Masjid, 2012. 
I also wanted to focus on taking pictures of children. I really believe that wherever you go in the world, the children are the same. They love to play and laugh and to cause mischief. I think children are symbolic of truth and purity given the free-spirited nature they possess. Children remind us of how we used to be, back before we became aware of our differences, before we formed ideas and identities rooted in own insecurities and fears. They remind us of simpler times, and I believe if we let them, they can inspire us to recreate those simpler times- that sense of freedom and exploration.
Girls in Bright Colours, 2012. 
On the Banks of the Ravi, 2012.
I plan on going back to Lahore in a few years and setting up a tuition and playcenter for street kids, before that however I'll need to gain more experience and raise some funds! I'm really looking forward to working very hard and seeing my project through in the not so distant future! Anyway I leave you with a song from one of my favourite Lahori musicians, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Back In London

Hi Guys, 
Now that I'm back in London I won't be posting on here any more. I've really enjoyed sharing my Lahore photo's with you. There's so much going on in Pakistan, and I think I've only managed to capture a tiny microcosm of everyday life in the city!

Despite all the challenges I've come face to face with and all the problems I've had to deal with, I still have a deep love for Lahore with its colour and magic and noise and madness and I feel incredibly privileged and blessed to have met so many beautiful souls on my journey. I hope to go back again one day and complete all the projects that I started including setting up a play-centre for street children!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Citizens Foundation

I very recently found out about this brilliant non-profit organisation called The Citizens Foundation. 

'The Citizens Foundation was founded just 17 years ago and is Pakistan's leading education charity. It builds and operates purpose-built schools in the country to provide modern, holistic and quality education at an economic cost, for disadvantaged children. TCF aims to produce confident, civic-minded young adults, equipped to think for themselves in today's world and realise their potential. TCF now has a nationwide presence in 51 districts and 83 towns across Pakistan with 730 school units (550 primary units & 180 secondary units) teaching over 102,000 underprivileged children - 46% girls - regardless of ethnicity, gender, caste or religion TCF schools are built in deprived areas: urban slums and poor rural villages where the need is most dire and where most children would otherwise not receive an education.'

The area manager of TCF Lahore, Major Ali Sher, kindly took me along to visit two of the schools in a village not far from the city. I couldn't believe how beautiful they were- clean, colourful, well-equipped and surrounded by lush green fields! The head teachers of both schools were very hospitable and took the time out to show me around. I've attached some pictures from my visit below!

For more info check out the TCF website:

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Hiran Minar (Minaret of the Antelope)

I took these pictures at Hiran Minar today (just outside Sheikhpura). Hiran Minar was constructed by Emperor Jahangir as a monument to Mansraj, one of his pet deer.

Passing By

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Where Home Is.

Every day there's a (girl) in the mirror
Asking me
what are you doing here?
Finding all my previous motives
Growing increasingly unclear

I travelled far and I burned all the bridges
I believed as soon as I hit land all the other 
options held before me 
will wither in the light of my plan

Cause I no longer know
where home is

Kings of Convenience