Love Studio

 
Redoy (a 16 year old): My series indirectly deals with the issues that migrant workers face in the modern world. Photograph/Samsul Alam Helal

Redoy (a 16 year old): My series indirectly deals with the issues that migrant workers face in the modern world. Photograph/Samsul Alam Helal

Samsul Alam Helal makes pictures of the fantasy world, hopes and dreams of the people working in an industrial area in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

This story was originally published in May 2014.

Samsul Alam Helal was one of the seven Bangladeshi artists exhibiting at Chobi Mela VII. He was brought up in a family where his brother owned a studio, and photography came as a natural curiosity.

Samsul Alam Helal
was one of the seven
Bangladeshi artists
exhibiting at Chobi
Mela VII. He was
brought up in a family
where his brother
owned a studio, and
photography came as a
natural curiosity.

Jurain is an industrial district where hundreds of people work for a better life, yet nothing changes for them. They remain unnoticed, ordinary. But, when they walk into a studio, it transforms into their very own personal world. They become heroes, kings, rockstars or any other character that strikes their fancy. On observing the old studios in my area, I realised that only a certain type of people frequented these studios. Most of them came from villages or were unemployed. They posed in front of colourful backdrops of landscapes, villages, houses and so on. When I spoke to the studio owners and backdrop painters, I found that these people aspired for a perfect world, but were not always granted their wish. They came to these studios to create their dream world and preserve it in the photos. So, I built my own studio, and invited people to come in, and dream.

How to Truly Capture Your Subject’s Personality in a Studio Environment

  • You need to have some knowledge of studio lighting, balancing colour and also, the history of studio photography.
  • You need to establish a personal relationship with the subject. Let them talk for the duration of the shoot if that helps you get a great picture.
  • Shoot from your heart. Be truly interested and involved in the stories that your subjects are telling you. Poses, compositions and striking frames may evolve out of such conversations.
  • Do not rush people. Sometimes, it takes awhile for the ice to break, let it be so.
Tags: backdrops, Bangladesh, Dhaka, immigrants, jurain, Labourers, love studio, migrant workers, portraits, posed, Samsul Alam Helal, staged, studio, Workers