Sheikh Abdul Nadim / interview by black dog bone

Sheikh Abdul Nadim


Do you think your photos give expressions to your feelings, What is photography to you?

I take photos out of my observations and feelings, it expresses my bonding around the world I live in. There is always something humanly related someway or other with my photography, without those observations and expression, there is no meaning of my photography. yes, of course my photography is my expression. For me photography is a philosophy, every photographer has a personal relationship to their photography. I try to find relationship between my subject and myself and finding my personal meaning in them. I don't think too much about technical aspect of photography( though they are important to some extend). I go by my intuition and observations and makes photos for myself. In my opinion, anyone can evaluate a picture and express whether they like it not; you don’t need to be an expert to convey your own views. I've come to appreciate that a good photograph is the one that causes some sort of emotional response. Nowadays people travels a lot for beautiful photograph but forgot to look at their own surroundings and neighborhood. My photography is my surrounding where I live in.

Most of your photos are in the streets outside. Also you take a lot of children. I feel like you really one with the photos that you take?

You are right I liked photographing people around me, their expression, the world they live in. I am more into street photography. Yes, Children are important to me, Photographing street children is different, there are many do's and don'ts to it. Whenever you put camera in front of Children they behave bizarre, excited, full of joy, twisted positions or do things they would not do normally, and that's make me laugh and happy. Suddenly they feel important and valuable to themselves . Most of the time they hover over my camera screen to see themselves and feel happy and excited to do so. I show them their pics, some are there, they have never seen their own pic before and those moment are very touching. Generally I don't go randomly into shooting them, I first interact with them, ask them about their interests, their lives, about things, their parents. slowly their parents (if they had any) came, asking what I was doing with the camera? I answer them their quarries and satisfy them. I never put on the camera unless they are comfortable with me, and it's not a one day process. I am a regular visitor there with my photographer friend (Mr.Utpal Haloi) .Generally no one wants to shoot street children, they are either tied to their ethics or not interested. (The official downside though is there is no record on the number of children living on the street and without official records it is impossible to address the issue)

I've come to appreciate that a good photograph is the one that causes some sort of emotional response. Nowadays people travels a lot for beautiful photograph but forgot to look at their own surroundings and neighborhood. My photography is my surrounding where I live in.Children are important to me, Photographing street children is different, there are many do's and don'ts to it. Whenever you put camera in front of Children they behave bizarre, excited, full of joy, twisted positions or do things they would not do normally, and that's make me laugh and happy. Suddenly they feel important and valuable to themselves . Most of the time they hover over my camera screen to see themselves and feel happy and excited to do so. I show them their pics, some are there, they have never seen their own pic before and those moment are very touching.As I said relating to the subject is important to me. A social outlook is developed during the times with my camera. I go round the humble living areas, which is not at all rare here, have some time with the working class and amazingly they start giving expressions. The feelings they have inert in them can be well captured by the man behind the camera. "Robert Capa" once said, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." to become more involved and intimate with our subjects. In fact, a Wide-angle lens is often a better choice than a telephoto lens when you want to "Zoom in" on your subject.


What is the mystery/the story behind your photographs. your photos have some much feeling and emotion and passion. Most of the photos you take your close to the image, I feel like you're one with the people you photograph?

See, every photographer have their own stories behind his/her photography. For me, when I am taking photos it's like I am totally absorbed in the moment. I am totally in the moment and myself. The only difference is that we all are wearing spectacles of different fabrics here and we all see different shades. As I said relating to the subject is important to me. A social outlook is developed during the times with my camera. I go round the humble living areas, which is not at all rare here, have some time with the working class and amazingly they start giving expressions. The feelings they have inert in them can be well captured by the man behind the camera. "Robert Capa" once said, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." to become more involved and intimate with our subjects. In fact, a Wide-angle lens is often a better choice than a telephoto lens when you want to "Zoom in" on your subject.

You are from Gauhati, India? What part of India is that? were you born there?

Yes, I am from Gauhati, which is the north-east part of India, in the state of Assam. It is the most beautiful and peaceful place in India. Rolling Plains with greenery as far as eyes can see, varied wildlife, bountiful natural resources wherever to look and cities and towns caught between the throes of modernization and tradition. I am born and brought up here.

Gauhati is commonly known as the "gateway to the whole of North East India". This hill-ringed, green-wooded, river-bordered urban center also known as "Pragjyotishpur" or the light of the east. it is an open city, filled with humble and kind hearted people, for me Gauhati is like heaven on Earth. Yes, most of my photography is in my own city. I hardly do any photography outside my state.


How is it for you living in Gauhati, India. It looks like a beautiful place. Is there where you take most of your photos?

Gauhati is commonly known as the "gateway to the whole of North East India". This hill-ringed, green-wooded, river-bordered urban center also known as "Pragjyotishpur" or the light of the east. it is an open city, filled with humble and kind hearted people, for me Gauhati is like heaven on Earth. Yes, most of my photography is in my own city. I hardly do any photography outside my state.

How was your childhood spent? were you happy, was it a lot of fun?

As a child I was a normal kid, an average child at school. I spent most of my time drawing and listening to classical myths stories. I was extremely fond of stories, my grandmother use to tell me innumerable stories. Each holiday meant fun and games with our cousins and others. If I sum up my entire childhood what it taught me, it would look something like this:- Explore more, Create memories, stay grounded, be kind and humble to all.


Can you tell us something about your later years, like 17,18,19 how you spend those days?

After completing my matriculation it was then I was attracted towards movies, I was movie addict then. most of my time were spent watching movies. I can watch movie all day long, if it taste my cup of tea. the first film that hit me tremendously is one of my all time favorite "Pather panchali”(1955)(aka song of the little Road)by a renowned film maker of India "Satyajit Ray". As the film was done on a high key, you can pause the film anywhere in the middle and can stare into it for a long time. It was a love at first sight with classic cinema for me. It was then I start collecting cinema for my own collection . I am a movie collector too and have my own small archive of almost 750 movies. In those years I don't have much money for my movies to collect, so I used to give private couching to earn some extra. so that I can collect some movies. And those were really wonderful days I live.

As of films I grew up watching movies with subtitles, I remember watching lot of classic style movies like Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy, which were really moving, with depth. Along with Hollywood classic, I love watching Iranian, Japanese, France, Italian Cinema from around the world, directors like John ford, Michael Curtiz, Abbas kiarostami, Jafar panahi, Akira Kurosowa, Giuseppe Tornatore, and so on and so forth.


How did you get into photography?

As I said I like to watch quality movies, and had a great passion for it. I even had prepared my own script for short films, but for some reason or other I couldn't convert them into films. In the mean time I came across "Raghu rai" Photography, one of the magnum photographer from India. It was his photography that encourage me to take photography as a passion. I took inspiration from his photography, and take photography as a medium to quench my thirst. From him I learn that, you can tell a lots of story through an image too. and in this way I came into photography.

Do you like to read ?What about films. What are books you like most?

Yes, I did like to read some books, from my childhood I use to love listening/reading stories of different culture of our region. By the time I reach 16/17 my interest shifted to facts from fictions- Scientific facts. I found more myths in facts then fictions and it grew my knowledge exponentially about life, the hard facts of life. some of the author I like and read mostly are- Richard Dawkins, Isaac Asimov, Bertrand Russell, Sam harries....As of films I grew up watching movies with subtitles, I remember watching lot of classic style movies like Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy, which were really moving, with depth. Along with Hollywood classic, I love watching Iranian, Japanese, France, Italian Cinema from around the world, directors like John ford, Michael Curtiz, Abbas kiarostami, Jafar panahi, Akira Kurosowa, Giuseppe Tornatore, and so on and so forth. Watching cinema is a continuous learning process for me, It helps me understand other parts of the world better. you learn to watch movie with close attention to the visual language, the characters and its body language, which change from one culture to another. some culture are more expressive other subtle. A good movie can feel you alive again, it makes you care and believe in creating possibilities again, and it can synthesis idea.

I see some incredible photographers and artist on face book. have you come across photographers in face book that you really like?

There are lots of incredible photographers around the world doing some exceptional job in their own field. A part from my personal fav Raghu rai, Henri Cartier Bresson, Bruce Gilden, and Vivian Maier, I liked the work of other photographer too on face book like Shivji Joshi, GMB Akesh, Pronob Ghosh, Sanam A Ali so on and so forth.

Watching cinema is a continuous learning process for me, It helps me understand other parts of the world better. you learn to watch movie with close attention to the visual language, the characters and its body language, which change from one culture to another. some culture are more expressive other subtle. A good movie can feel you alive again, it makes you care and believe in creating possibilities again, and it can synthesis idea.


What can you say about the photographers in contemporary society?


are there a lot of photographers where you live in India that you like. What are some photographers you like?

Contemporary photography encapsulates or reflects back to us an opinion about our world today. The world is not static and so does photography. Societies, political environment, philosophy, standard of living, technology, value, realities constantly change. Photography is indeed as interesting as evolution of Art itself, with their own perspective, Each genres produce greatest masters of its own and it had come a long way. They have cherished photography as a passion by heart in their own contemporary world. With the new age came, a slightly different definition of photography emerge. Creativity unroll with the form of expression, but so did the ways of exhibiting it. While the purpose of photography has always been to provoke emotion, to send a message and to show another angle of things, the way of sending that message changed radically. With digital manipulation at hand, photography's once sole aim to represent reality become optional. Yes, there are lots of photographers here, each one is passionate about their own form. As I mentioned earlier Shivji Joshi, Kaushal Parikh, Dhiraj Singh,, Amit Madheshiya, Pronab Ghosh, and many more.



I take photos out of my observations and feelings, it expresses my bonding around the world I live in. There is always something humanly related someway or other with my photography, without those observations and expression, there is no meaning of my photography. yes, of course my photography is my expression.


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