A Professional’s Touch
By Mahnaz Hasan
Capturing the world through the lens is all in a day’s work for a seriously hardworking Lahore amateur
Images have their own language. While the artist, transforms even the mundane into a work of art, the photographer uses images to communicate volumes to you — in a sweeping glance. As was the case during a recent exhibition at the Alliance Francaise, Lahore. Titled, One for the Road it was photographer Tahir Gul Hasan’s first solo exhibition.
Hasan, a self-starter in photography about thirty-five years ago, has refuse to embrace the discipline as a profession. He likes the freedom of being an amateur (Latin for “lover”), who can indulge in his other passions — music, writing and travel. He did, however, study the F/64 giants, the Magnum greats and the Surrealists, but drew his own conclusions and came up with his own perspective. One for the Road was the collection of street photography, which attracts him more than any thing else.
“I am only interested in capturing fragments of the ‘Inner Reality’ when they unfold before me,” explains Hasan. He prefers older equipment to the digital because he believes that “a dose of pain always yields creative gain” — which lends him a margin of creativity with a medium that has inherent limitations.
Tahir Gul Hasan’s exhibition (comprising forty-one exhibits) was a keen observation of the human condition, which he has converted into a story to be told. He appeared to pick out the human element in the spectacular and the sophisticated and present it against a pitch black background that not only lends a strong contrast to the image, but also boldly states his message, be it in the inherent abstraction and purity of black and white photography or in a playful splash of colour depicting interesting subjects.
While the Autumn in Paris, Shadow and its Butterfly and River Gilgit are brilliant examples of nature in its pure glory, the Eiffel Tower Toilettes, Old city/New city and The Wooden Bridge presented the mundane against the sophistication of modern day life.
His abstracts and still-life presentations are simple but beautiful in black and white as well as in colour. Star and Stripes, PIA No: 1, Flower and its Soul and Mad Cow at Ease displayed simple subjects with a fresh perspective, which only an amateur is perhaps capable of.
Hasan’s street portraits were the most interesting. No Jacket Required, Hubble-bubble and Boy in Trouble, Woodcutter’s Children, Lord of the Rings and Parts for Sale are brilliant examples of his rendition of the realities of ordinary existence, where he appears to be smiling at what he has captured — with the eye of a kindred soul.
One for the Road does not overwhelm your senses, as it is an uncluttered but creatively expert presentation of familiar mundane reality that you don’t have to spend hours to understand. The collection at the exhibition, was his favourite bests from his work so far — let’s watch out for more!
For more on this exhibition, please read 'Pictures In My Mind' by Tahir Gul Hasan