Dhaka: Saud Al Faisal started to develop his passion for photography in an early student age and completed his Diploma in Black & White Photography from Alliance Française de Dhaka in 1996.
During his long active endeavors in photography, Faisal has received recognitions from various national and international arenas. He organized, participated and also served in different capacities in a wide range of exhibitions and workshops. In the interview being reposted here from 121clicks.com, an internationally renowned art and photography portal, Faisal speaks about different aspects of his photography.
How did you start photography and what inspired you to take up photography?
I started photography in my early age while I was in high school, I use to visit art exhibition regularly in Alliance Française, which was a place of our hangout that time and started to visit the photography exhibitions too. During that time I came across a photography book named “Woman” by Anwar Hossain and that actually sparked my interest in this medium. Then I did my diploma in black and white photography and photography became a part of my life.
What are your thoughts on working on single images versus photo stories?
Definitely two approaches are different. For example, a photo series requires a synopsis with the philosophical statement from the photographer with enough complementary photographs. On the other hand a single image needs to tell a complete story with lot of visual attraction, if possible with the proper statement. Both kinds of works have its own challenges though I find more complex to work on a photo series.
What does it take to make a good photograph?
Nothing but passion and love for photography. But obviously there are some natural human instincts that need to be nurtured, like one need to have good observation power, always ready, ability to be invisible and capacity to mingle with everyone. A photographer must have the urge to see new places and meet new people with a down to earth attitude.
What are the essential qualities a documentary photographer should have?
In general a documentary photographer needs asound and proper knowledge base and analytical thought process to think beyond what we see and link the story with our sociopolitical life. The most important quality a documentary photographer needs is the ability to communicate both with the people of in front of camera and the viewer; we can’t forget the truth that we take photographs for our viewers.
I don’t do a lot of research work before going to shot a place or people, I rather believe in getting local knowledge organically on spot. Because a predetermine knowledge might make your thought narrow, so I prefer to have a very broad line background work and explore more details on the spot. I also pay redundant visit to the same place to come up with the best shot from that place, I think this approach helps to develop a strong story with the massage you need to deliver.
Which photographers inspire you?
Actually any good photograph inspires me a lot, not necessary from any particular photographer. Though there are some photographers whose works really inspired me lot, Anwar Hossain is one my early inspiration along with other classical master names like Henri Cartier Bresson, Steve McCurry, James Nachtwey, Yousuf Karsh, Bruce Gilden and Raghu Rai. Also everyday many new photographers inspire me.
One place you all always want to visit for Photography?
I like the old part of the Dhaka city and visit very often for photography. But if I need to mention any other place I would mention the Tanguar Haor area where I want to go every year.
The Best achievement / Compliment you have received so far?
The best achievement is inspiring so many new photographers and developing platforms for photographer. However my works has been awarded and displayed in several countries and I consider all of them as equal achievements.
Your future goals?
Actually I want to see myself from two different perspectives; one is as a photographer who loves to take picture whatever he likes to capture, another is as an organizer devoted to photography-related activities. But I take part in both the activities out of passion, being driven more by heart than brain. Being a Photographer I always try to tell about the person’s story that I am capturing and portray the plight of the person. People is my main subject and I believe the viewer has the full ownership of my photographs, so it is my responsibly to give my view the correct image of the people I am photographing.
Defiantly I’ll continue to the same what I am doing.
Any secrets/advices to aspiring Photographers?
A photographer always needs to be very open to all types of criticism and not to limit his/her eyes to viewing. He must see all the good works from across the world and find out his own style. Should not spend more time over gear and gadgets, rather he should spend time on the field and talk to the people. Don’t be satisfied with your creation and always look for new moment that is yet to be captured.
All the photographs are taken by Saud Al Faisal