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Layered images

Photography is as much about skill as it is about being at the right place at the right time. Photographers Moinul Alam and Asma Beethe happened to be in Bangladesh when the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar was at its peak last year. Their chronicling of the unpredictable lives of the refugees was the subject of The Influx Passage (June 25-30) held at Boi-Chitra.

VISUAL ARTS - Srimoyee Bagchi   |     |   Published 18.08.18, 12:00 AM

Photography is as much about skill as it is about being at the right place at the right time. Photographers Moinul Alam and Asma Beethe happened to be in Bangladesh when the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar was at its peak last year. Their chronicling of the unpredictable lives of the refugees was the subject of The Influx Passage (June 25-30) held at Boi-Chitra.

Alam and Beethe paint a picture different from the usual chain of disconsolate people trooping in with meagre belongings (although such images are not entirely absent) that has come to be associated with the crisis. Instead, there are pictures of hope: children playing, adults building homes and mosques - even if these are impermanent - and signs of life being slowly resumed.

The most interesting shots, with an image within an image, show how memory in photography is layered: the photographer both memorializes a moment and appropriates the memory of his subject. Most of the pictures are in greyscale - various shades of grey based on the the intensity of light rather than the bi-colour of black-and-white - suffusing them with a surreal sense of being suspended in time.

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