Unpaid Characters

Madina

Specialisation: “to concentrate on and become expert in a particular subject or skill”
Its a pretty simple definition but people still get very hypocritical.

Thomas Chambers – a landscape painter, did any one expect anything other than scenery full canvases?
Banksy! THE BANKSY ; Where graffiti meets humorous political and social commentary. Would any one expect him to go around town & spray some meaningless boats & flowers?

The answer to both those questions is No, & if you answered otherwise please stop reading here

Wedding, anyone?
Why is it that when it comes to photography the hypocrisy unleashes?! Can someone not be inspired by street photography, influenced by portraits & not face generalisations? Enjoying a ‘camera’s feel’ does not necessarily mean one can be your wedding photographer. I, for one ,may enjoy portraits but those are more candid photographs. Weddings & event photography require a skill I do not possess, just the way Banksy can’t paint boats! We are sorry for our shortcomings ..

Its Time ..
When asked about my inspirations, I instinctively think about my ‘place’ in the world around me. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, much of my early years were spent as the outsider looking in to their world. Over the years, however, as I grew to love and blend into it I became less of an outsider and more a part of it. This didn’t change how I perceived things, but it did make me realize the elements that contributed to producing my art. If I say my Pakistani origins coupled with my Saudi upbringing were the fuel, then ‘time’ was the vehicle that aided my artistic journey.
Hence my ‘repetitive’ pieces of visitors from back home. When a country like Pakistan is so beautiful but capturing it through a lens can be a threat to you & your family, you learn to work with what you have. Maybe I try to relate to them from here in Jeddah, try & add stories to their faces but can I really? A lifetime away from ‘Home’ & having built a new one here, am I in any position to do so? When you look at an art piece, it may not mean anything to you, but once you learn about an artist’s background, all the elements come together.

Lights – Camera ..
I later realised how I’ve turned these candid profiles into unpaid actors. Actors that aren’t aware of their script nor their publishing, leaving me a culprit of identity theft. With my clean intentions, little do they know, without them I would have no art. It was after that epiphany that I sat down & sketched my own characters. No longer wanting to be a culprit I started to sketch down features of someone longing for home ..

sketch

Chapter 1
It never occurred to me how intense every little curve on a portrait affects the image’s over all mood. Starting with a very vague idea in mind, every stroke made me realise the good & bad of photography. Despite the quick pace of a shutter compared to a pencil’s hundred strokes, a self improvised portrait will always be in your control. Every expression, every wrinkle & every hair strand is an opportunity to add another chapter to his life. Then again, despite it seeming like the ‘easy way out’ photography will always have an extra element of surprise. Candid shots leave no one more startled than the photographers themselves, as the subjects are out of their control.

Think again
I thought I was outshining myself, trying to paint a picture of the ‘ideal subject’ to portray my stories until I realised how ignorant I was being. What is art without a soul? Nothing. How can I base a story on a character that I drew up in a couple of hours? What makes me so sure all the wrinkles I put in, best describe the issues he’s going through?
I then fell back to my unpaid actors, except this time I asked them their stories. After snapping numerous shots I sat & had conversations about our home & the problems being faced. It made me realise a face is just a visual image to help register an issue – would it really matter whether it were hand drawn or camera captured?

Final

Thus the most recent addition to my portrait collection; a blend of an already existing photo from Madina & slightly amended features to fit his stories. “Longing for home” was done ..

Photos dated : June 2013