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Images from across the border

What one sees through the lens is much the same as here



Visitors at the exhibition. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

SAMI UR RAHMAN, President of the Photographic Art Society of Pakistan (PASP), put it just right: "Over the last one year, there has been peace initiative that is government to government. But I believe there must be one that is person-to-person, artiste-to-artiste, and face-to-face. Certainly not eyeball to eyeball." He was more than happy that Pakistan photographers were invited by the India International Photographic Council, supported ably by the PASP, to showcase works of senior Pakistan photographers. A 15-member Pakistan delegation is here for the exhibition and after the show here it will travel to New Delhi.

Mr. Rahman and Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan, professional photographers, are former police officials who took interest in photography along the way. And while Syed Nayyer Reza is a professional photographer, among the younger lot Salim Khawar is a jeweller with interest in photography, Syed Javaid A Kazi is a former banker, Nisar A. Mirza is with PTV, and Rafique Owaisai is a veteran photographer. "We come from different fields, but we have developed an interest in art. Photography is art. And as artistes, we are creative and thinking people who can make a valuable contribution to peace."

Each photograph at the exhibition has won at least a couple of international awards, which amounts to more than 50 and each one of these photographers has received worldwide recognition. Mr. Rahman points out that Pakistan too organises exhibitions on a large scale, but it needs to do more. "There is need for serious curriculum on photography in universities and academic set-ups in Pakistan. Not much is happening while I have always been advocating that. And if the state of photography is not great, who is to blame when you don't have institutes where youngsters can learn the craft, where they get exposure to techniques of photography. That is how their creative abilities will develop. A photograph can change your life."

But he hopes that photography will look up in the future in Pakistan owing to more exchanges between countries and greater visibility. "I also have the great desire that this art form will bring us closer." He also points out that what the photographs depict is much like India. "Where is the difference? I don't feel alien at all."

The PASP presented awards to Karnataka photographers Vivek Sinha, T.N.A. Sharma, Ghorpade, S. Hari Narayan, Ashok Fernandes and to the IIPC President Gul H. Gulrajani.

G.N.P.

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