MISBAH CHOWDHURY: THE BEAUTY IN BEING STATIONARY
"We live in an age defined by mass migration and creative immigrants, and so I am sometimes hard-pressed to explain why I’ve stayed not only in the same place, but the same building. My mother’s sorrowful voice comes back to me, ‘Why don’t you go outside for a while, why don’t you try a change of scene, do some travelling?’
Conrad, Nabokov, Naipaul – these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilisations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, a nourishment drawn not through roots but through rootlessness; mine, however, requires that I stay in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view. Istanbul’s fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am." Excerpt from Istanbul: Memories of a City By Orhan Pamuk
This excerpt comes to mind when thinking of Misbah Chowdhury, the 25-year-old Dubai based photographer capturing comical, unrepeatable moments. When I first came across Chowdhury's work I was starstruck by his peculiar ability of capturing those "you just had to be there" moments. This is LOS GATOS in conversation with Misbah Chowdhury.
Four Arab Men 2019
LOS GATOS: I love your editorial and commercial photography, but I find myself more drawn to the photos you take on your iPhone to post on Instagram, do you find yourself having a preference?
MISBAH CHOWDHURY: I don’t have a preference because I love taking photos non-stop, whether it’s professionally or just on my iPhone, it doesn’t feel any different, to me I’m just taking photos.
Praying, Sitting 2019
GATOS: Your work could be said to be lighthearted and comedic, would you agree with that statement?
CHOWDHURY: You’re right about that, when I shoot casually that’s always what I’m going for. When I shoot professionally I always try to create a mood and a narrative around my photos from a visual standpoint.
Third Time's The Charm 2020
GATOS: What are the things that really catch your eye and incite you to take photos?
CHOWDHURY: I love patterns, symmetry, glitches, and things in unusual places. I love taking a photo of something and then thinking "I'm so glad I was here to see this and take a picture of it".
GATOS: What do you want people to take away from your photos?
CHOWDHURY: I just want people to remember.
No Signal 2020
GATOS: Being in Dubai, does the community and environment around you inspire you?
CHOWDHURY: Dubai has always been my environment, because I’ve never actually left Dubai. I’m always inspired by my surroundings, I’ve trained myself to find beauty in normalcy and the mundane so it becomes very easy for me to find beauty in whatever is around me, until I get to travel and see the world for myself.
If You're Shy 2020
GATOS: Going by your photos, which seem effortless in the best way possible, would you agree that finding a subject matter comes easy to you?
CHOWDHURY: I agree yes, it’s because I’ve been taking photos for a long time, plus I just need everything around me documented at all times.
Finding a subject matter is always anything that stands out to me. Anything that’s not supposed to be where it is, or placing things in places it shouldn’t be, or anything that catches my eye. I always try to make an object the subject.
Help, Its All Squiggly Wiggly 2020
All images courtesy the artist.