I have seen some of his photos in The Hindu. I once came across his photos on Instagram. They are a beauty. I haven't seen such wonderful photographs of nature ever before. I have seen them in The Lonely Planet Magazine though but I hardly know any Asian photographers with such incredible talent. Abdul's photos grabbed my attention and I sent him an email to interview him.
Getting to know about how he grew up in a poor family and his love for photography was something I'll always cherish.
This is his story
I was born in a small village in northern Bangladesh. It's name is Baghopara which means "Village of Tigers." But in reality, it was a village of poor people and we used to live below the poverty line. My father used to sell sandals and flip flops in the streets. After my school classes, I would join him.
In my school life, I often used to sell flowers, plants and other things in the streets. Pursuing my education was painful, both for me and my family, but somehow I made it. I eventually finished my SSC course.
In college, I used to give coaching to other students and also sold self made rechargeable lights, fans and other electrical goods to villagers. I did electrical wiring work at homes, repaired mobile phones and many things to bear my educational expenses. Despite all the odds, I completed my higher secondary course at the Govt. A.H. College and later completed my graduation and post graduation in Chemistry at the National University of Bangladesh.
Three years ago, when I was a graduate student, I bought a second-hand mobile phone with 5 MP camera. I really liked it.
I used to take photos of my surroundings with it and one day, I shared some photos in a photography group on FaceBook.
Some people appreciated and told me to capture and share more photos. I was really encouraged and I started to take more and more photos. Over time, I learned some rules and tricks of photography online. But I wanted to enhance the photo quality of my phone's camera. So I made some external lenses for my phone; macro and wide. It pushed my mobile camera's quality to an extent that others asked me to make lens for them. It was cheap and I sold many lenses to people.
In the meantime, I had won several online mobile photography competitions and with that money I bought my first camera Nikon D5200. I was so excited that I started photography with full potential. Later, I received national awards and with the prize money, I upgraded my camera to Nikon D7200.
"When I was about to finish my graduation, I realised the reality of the world I was living in. Bangladesh is one of the most corrupted countries on earth.
You can't get a good job here without bribe or political power. It doesn't matter if you are a bright student or how much talent you have.
I needed a job but I didn't have huge money to give them. So, I decided to stay with photography and take it as profession. Now I am full time photographer but I still don't know how long I can manage."
I love to take photographs of common people, their work and surroundings in wider frames. But the problem was I didn't have expensive ultra wide lens. So I found an alternate way; if I could get myself to a higher place then I could capture wider shots easily. I have used several ways to get wider shots without ultra wide lenses. I have climbed trees, used ladders and roof tops, bridges, towers and whatever higher things I could find. Many a times, I had to risk my life to get satisfying shots.
The photographer I really admire is Guruji Okqy Purnama Setiawan. He is Indonesian and he has impressed many with his amazing mobile photos. His works inspired me a lot.
Another photographer I admire is Guru Charan. He's Indian. I find harmony in his works. Every time, if you see any of his photos it will make you smile. Though I haven't met these guys, I have learnt a lot of things from their work. I admire them from the bottom of my heart.
Photographs are time capsules but if you can't make it feel like running in real time then it's simply an inert thing. Every time I capture a photo, I try to make it look alive. If a photo contains something sad then it should also affect and make a viewer feel sad and if a photo contains a joyful moment then the joy of the viewer should be everlasting, even if you see that photo a thousand times, it shouldn't end.
Of all the photos I have taken "The Ride" is my personal favourite. I took that photo taking a huge risk. I was in a highway, capturing photos of a dead tree. Suddenly, I found a huge straw laden truck with some men sitting on the top. It looked very interesting to me and I went to the middle of the road quickly. The truck was coming towards me very fast and I had only a single chance to take only one click. I clicked the photo. Later, I got several awards for it and it got published in many international newspapers like The Times, The Telegraph, The Mirror.
"Photography changed my life totally. I would have been a typical office going guy, but photography made me see more, to see deeply into the lives of people. It also made me to love nature.
The best part of being a photographer is having the ability, the power to show others how exactly you see the world around you."
For newbies, the best camera is the one you can afford and the best subject is the one you can reach easily. It's true that beauty does lies among the terrains of Himalayas but you can also find beauty in the tiny little dew drops on the grass of your backyard.
Photography is like any other forms of art. Studying photography in a college can give you academic recognition, may grow your technical, mechanical or ethical knowledge of traditional photography. But if you want to do something new or different, you have to do it yourself. Not every great photographers have a diploma degree after all.
The only thing I would say for those who are planning to take photography as career is please don't take it as a profession if you are not a lover of arts. Ask your heart and do what it wants.
I use Nikon D7100, D7200 with Nikon 18-55mm, 10-20mm, 70-300mm and Tamron 90mm. My gears are entry level but I am trying to push them to their limits.
"I wish if I could take photos of Lavender fields in Valensole, France. Its vibrant purple color attracts me a lot. "
About a year ago in Barishal, all my photography gears got damaged by water.
I was there to take some photos of floating fruit markets in river. I could take photos from a distance but I wanted to go closer. Unfortunately, I was in a very small boat. My boat got hit and started sinking. Luckily, I knew swimming. I got out from the place. My camera, lens and mobile phone were in the backpack and as they were not waterproof, they were damaged.
After that incident I had to wait three months to buy a camera again. I eventually managed to buy an used Nikon D7100 and started again.
Some days ago, a fellow photographer Motiur Rahman had major brain hemorrhage. His right arm and leg got paralysed and he can't speak anymore. We have gone to many places and have taken thousands of photos together. He was far senior than me but he always treated me like a friend. I miss him very much.