critiquing the critique….

14 March 2013

it was last on 09 March 2013 when we had a fabulous day with a monthly event of Through the Lens: Bangladesh (TTL)…. the 24th TTL Photo Adda…. I was lucky to have attended this event after so long… it wasn’t just a typical critique session that used to happen previously…. the perspective of learning certainly broadened with the addition of two presentations…. there was learning all around…. for those who missed, its just another motivation not to miss the next one….

anyway, apart from the superb presentation by Mitul Bhai on master photographer Sebastiao Salgado and his work, there was another presentation done by Faisal Bhai… and how honouring for me say that that presentation was on me!…. I was humbled to say the least…. Saud Al Faisal is one of the my favourite photographers and getting a presentation from him is something to remember…. first of all, its a big thanks to Faisal Bhai…. this post is mainly about that presentation…. well, if I started talking about that presentation during the event, there would’ve been little time left for other activities during that evening…. so, its better to take time and write something about it, which can, over time, become another content to talk about….


the surprise!

it was a very honest presentation by Faisal Bhai…. sometimes its difficult to express true feelings about someone when that person sits in front of you…. but he overcame that with his masterly delivery…. I really liked his analysis…. he did a lot of work behind this presentation and prepared some hypotheses… and based on those, he used the contents in an almost poetic way…. once he contacted me regarding the presentation, I gave him more than 40 photos which he could use…. but I was surprised to see that most of the photos were not used in the presentation…. then I realised that the presentation was more about the subject matter than a portfolio…. its true that due to lack of time he couldn’t contact me for some of the photos and he just used the watermarked versions from web…. but the end result was worth mentioning… its an example for anyone trying to a presentation on someone…. do the homework…. analyse, hypothesize, and then present an idea, not a body a work…. thats the way to go… a great learning indeed….

002Faisal Bhai started with my fascination for the picturesque…

the importance of critics….

Faisal Bhai rightly mentioned my inclination towards the picturesque… colours always attract me…. in my view, we see colours with our eyes, and in many cases, taking the colours out would cheat the viewer…. but only if the colour is an important part of what you are trying to portray…. he also mentioned that apart from a few, he couldn’t remember any of my B&W images…. this is a feedback that I never got and also never thought about…. its a trait of mine that I never had to talk about; not even within myself…. now I feel how right he is about me…. its great to think about your work from a different perspective…. I have some monochrome photos that I call my favourites…. but I never had a look at my works out of my own body!…. this is why critics are so important….

003My observation of day-to-day life took a major seat in the presentation…

the value of pre-work….

he also picked my attraction for simple day-to-life…. things that aren’t world-changing, yet people do on a day-to-day basis…. simple people with at their workplace, place of resting, place of worship… he also picked the point about attention to detail…. taking a thread out of a photo on harvesting, he expanded this particular view to include my blogging on various places…. he even mentioned some details about my writing that truly took me by surprise…. he picked a line from my works which says that I capture my travel experience…. he also backed it up with a series of photos from my 2009 Kuakata blog post where I portrayed my whole journey,  not just the title place….. I didn’t know that someone could notice such details in my write-up…. thats an instant inspiration for me…. he also mentioned my presentation entitled Wheels of Kuakata where I took the perspective of an innate object….. it also shows the value of pre-work… he not just observed my work, he was very detailed about it…. and thats why he was able to go so much deeper….

005My evolution into a user of artificial light was explained in detail…



007My attention to detail was a talking point in the presentation….


then he started talking about my evolving photographic style…. he showed my inclination towards use of artificial light…. he also picked up on my work on the TTL group shot that I did with Avik Bhai right before BIF-3 exhibit in 2011…. he again brought up the words “attention to detail” as a huge complement…. he described the shoot from his position among the participants….. this not just shows his power of observation, but also highlights the strength of his hypothesis…. he could write an essay… a straight essay…. but instead, he picked up a few lines and made sense of it all…. he could go much deeper on those few lines, which is always preferable to a shallow set of words on a really wide topic…

008My current endeavour was the final topic of the presentation….

the flow….

then in the last part of the presentation, he picked upon my current venture with portrait photography….. again, Faisal Bhai concentrated on one part of my work, newborns…. but thought his main area of concentration was on ‘creative use of light’, he didn’t go into that much detail….. I have to admit this part could’ve been even more relevant if it was shown how my creative use of light helped my new venture…. yet, its the flow of the presentation that had so much for everyone…. the way he started it with my early works, then he moved into my evolution, and then ended with the latest works…. its something to learn from….

I can’t thank Faisal Bhai more for the beautiful and masterly presentation…. its a learning for everyone regarding what approach one should take while talking about someone’s works…. with the plan of TTL to continue with this kind of events and Faisal Bhai’s desire to this kind of presentations on a regular basis, I can only see things in the future….


About Ideas_R_Bulletproof

Photographer, Entrepreneur, Writer, Blogger, Market Researcher, Consultant; goes by the title of Ideas_R_Bulletproof
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6 Responses to critiquing the critique….

  1. Mitul says:

    Its amazing that how deeply u observed the presentation n memorized the whole flow. N the best part is you just filled in the words herr which were left there fpr ppl to understand.

    • Thank you so much for a very thoughtful comment, Mitul Bhai…. I believe this presentation is the start of new culture…. its also part of our maturity as photographers…. photography can only benefit from such sessions…. and big thanks to you for the lovely presentation on Salgado…. learned so much…. 🙂

  2. Saud A Faisal says:

    Reblogged this on Around us.

  3. Saud A Faisal says:

    I much say…. i have scratched only over the surface and could dig down a lot…. but still i enjoyed doin it… and i realized I should have also include some more about your new venture….. 🙂

    • Faisal Bhai, you could’ve ended up touching everything in an-hour long presentation without going deeper in anything, but instead, you did something that we all can learn from…. it was a lesson for all of us…. big thanks for that… 🙂

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