Wednesday, 22 February 2012

moments in places...

towel on string with election poster, dhaka, feb 2012

teawagon, dhaka, feb 2012

man drinking tea, dhaka, feb 2012

monument, parliament, dhaka, feb 2012
floor, dhaka, feb 2012


chairs on place, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012
we are on a mission. adnan and me. to the riverside, in old dhaka.

it is warm, but not too much, and rarely and perfect happening in teh winter, there is overcast. perfect weather for taking portrait photos.

wagon, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012
the riverside is famous for a lot. markets, business, oldness, crazy amount of people. but also recycling. i think.

recycling in bangladesh is big. not because of the environment, maybe, but moreover because of the economy and because you can still use it.

and it is not a new thing. depending on when which item was used there were always new ways of reproduction. a very bangladeshi business model.

guys at paper recycling place, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012
more guys at paper recycling place, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012
i am a bit jealous, and then admiration. not pittiness. more the same admiration i have for bus driver, subway driver, clothes sellers. jobs which i never could do, because of whatever reasons. bus and subway driver demands attention and patience, clothes seller even more and standing ability and recycling guy.

Recycling guy, just simple because he is sorting out stuff most in combination with flies, moscitos, dirt. that's it. i am sorry. that's why admiration. and respect. a lot.

wagon with glitter paper, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012
adnan got tired. i was tired and thirsty. we were taking for the whole morning pictures. he did the interviews. too many. time to finish.

adnan: i am so annoyed
me: why
adnan: they always asked for money. and the guy at the end , who did not belong to the interview said something as well. and i could not keep my temper.

and i understand. i understand. in new york people always wanted to see a detailed listing of why i wanted to do it for what, whom, purpose. would i earn money. they were used to contracts, but not keen on pictures, above all if it took a lot of time. sometimes they asked me for money. not sure how often.

but here it is different. white people come, journalists, photographers, come, to the riverside. see, take picture, feel, think, not sure what. do not wanna know. leave.  leave money there? that's adnan suggestion.

adnan knows a case. of photographers, norwegians, somewhere else, giving the people which they photographed lot of money. the next one came and there was no money, so no pictures.

but even more. people put themselves in a dependence situation. preferring earning more money without doing something and starving in  the mean time while waiting instead of earning regular money.

adnan is tired. i understand.

but then  is it not everywhere we have to fight. isn't it part of our job. because people before that mess it up. such in new york, where people see themselves in big sized prints ins scary poses in exhibition halls or high profile papers.

and they were not even asked.

bricks of aluminium, old dhaka, 19th feb. 2012

mother language day....

guys,  national motherlanguage day, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
national mother language day. already when i arrived in dhaka people were asking me what i was doing on the 21st. would i be around. yes i would.

it is a really special day. on this day a bit more than a few years ago than now bangladeshies ( or than east pakistanies) were fighting for their motherlanguage bengali or bangla, how everybody says here.

they fought and won. and that's important.

flowers, mother language day, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
more flowers, mother language day, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
and i understand. tradition, cultural context, history, patriotism and pride. i understand.

i am joining them, walk down to the memorial place. with a lot of other people, mostly nicely dressed, in sharie's, the women. the men as well, kidn of. all of them have paiting over their face. a kind of hat, green and red. a lot of stands with food, little toys and water on the way. 

there was a long line. people were queing, waiting. it was hot. with flowers, flyers, banners. people asked me again. do i know which day it was today. i said yes yes i knew.
it is a very special day. i know a lot of other countries have this day, also.

i am not a grumpy foreigner. but i am not used to it. patriotism. not from home. we celebrate special days, like the reunion with east germany. but quietly. and we do not expect everybody to know it.

to hang around in the past, is good and is important, but as much the germans have to move on to suck in their giltyness about their dark episode in german history. other might or shoudl do it as well, cause just getting stuck in your past makes you standing still.

up till now i have seen 3 dokumentary movies from bangaldesh. they all dealt with the liberation war.

rest of flowers, mother language day, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012

and it is ok to be proud. it is ok to celebrate and maybe it is because i am not used to it, but i am sure, without even a glimpse of irony, even after this day people will ask me. then: how did you celebrate your day?

and they did.

fun at the fair...

carousel, park, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
mini big wheel, park, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
card, park, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
femal orange seller,  park, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012
coffee shop, park, dhaka, 21st feb. 2012

working from not my home.

m&ms, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012
it took me about 2 hours to get there. it was a nice day. so could not complain. morning. and needed the walk.

i was with sadia, in sadia's boyfriend place. he lives in gulshan, in an partament, top floor, with huge terrace. whole day sun and amazing view on the lake.

i am jealous. that is even better than mine.

flowers on floor, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012

chair, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012

cat, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012
he adopted the cat. a few weeks ago. it was in the hallway, staircases. and he could not say no.

he is super small, but she is young. very scared. i am ok with that. i would be.

funny story or better say gossip. he is a lovely cat. but he is weeing. on everything. all the time. today on my bag. a bit. sometimes on the bed, floor, where ever. there is no recognizable system recognizable. at least at the moment.

i used to have two cats, kind of. in new york. they were not mine, but my flatmates.  they used to always shit on her bed. our theory was that they had an instable emotional relationship. cause she was never at home and i was new. also i am not the most playful cat lover. more a farmer type cat lover.

but maybe that was the key. maybe he should look at his in and outgoings in his place... 

clothes, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012
lamp on pumpkin, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012
he is in the agriculture section. he is working all over banagladesh and develops new crop or agricultural methods for the bangladeshis. that's important. cause they have a problem. and he knows the solution. or somebody else. but they can help. that's perfect. and of course they also bear in mind aspects such as long term development etc.


it is. i am just not sure.

one day, a while ago, i talked with a friend. he is teacher. he told me about new teaching methods, working with the students together, putting them into groups. allowing them to go the way, to develop the idea, understanding. i loved the old school method. you sit in class, the teacher talks, you listen, sometimes you sleep, or try to sleep, sometimes it is much more fun than you thought, because of the teachers entertaining abilities.

more and more i understand the importance of independent thinking, organic development, own experience. etc.  all this stuff.

if you get told, you get lazy. i even get lazy with my technical issues. the guys in the office know more about it. or my bangla. i need to be definitly alone and without anybody close who has some small idea about the english language in order to make me speak bangla.

i know it and i still don't do anything about it. the only good thing. i am sure the person who is helping me feels in the best way annoyed or in the best way good.

feed and art, gulshan, dhaka, feb 2012

we are making an animation, or better say presentation. for drik. a game. an idea for people to invent a game. we both never made something like that. today we start. sadia is drawing. i am criticizing. i am really good in that.

after valentine...

red balloon, dhaka, 18th feb 2012
the valentine's day is over. already a few days back. everything is back to normal.

i never expected that. everywhere else but not in bangladesh. did not even think about the fact that it would exist here. cause no open relationships without marriage, very little emotionality and having a matchmaker as a common tool for initiating relationships. but why do i think that?

love can exist i so many ways. and develop. so you can have the one and the other. i think.

who says that arranged maariage in the first place are not love. we? i am?
so my love i have is the one.

that's like eating chicken and believing in the universal importance of eating chicken. oh and i forgot with knife and fork... well theer would be a great majority of people voting against it. and that since ages.

red women, park, dhaka, 18th feb 2012
the valentine's day got introduced  a couple of years ago. it was, apparently a famous journalist or tv guy... i forgot. but somebody from the media. for sure. and famous.

after he introduced it it became to a incredible success in bangladesh, or better say dhaka.

one of the australian students, who were studying in pathsala was just standing in front of mina bazar, the little supermarket where i am doing my shopping. i was in a rush. just came from a shooting, just wanted to get some water and some vegetables. i think.  i said quickly hello,not prepared to meet in a foreign city a person i know. does not happen that often and to me- never.

also she is a photographer, journalist, film maker. i knew her from before. 3 times i met her. first time in a workshop. she was really nice, open, friendly, second time in fornt of drik. needed somebody to go with her to the kitefestival and was just in a moment of shock with dhaka. at least hse said this. she has enough. from being alone on the street. something like taht she said.

thrid time at the kitefestival, after iw rote her, and di not get any message back. saw her ruhsing on teh rooftops. hello, i am sorry and off.

i hate networking. makes me sick. sorry but being nice on a personal level to get anywere on a business level makes me sick.

but that's a different case. but in the case of valentines day it is important. cause did not wanna talk with her. cause i do not like pretentious nice networking. never was so not now.

anyway so i just passed her, rush and could just get a glimpse. she was wearing a red sari.. wow.

" wow you look reda today" was the nly thing i could say.
and off to go shopping.

women in dhaka on valentine's day are dressed in red saries, red balloons all over the place, special events and gifts. and flowers of course.

red ribbon, dhaka, 18th feb 2012
and actually it makes sense. wedding is one of the biggest days for people in bangladesh. they spend a huge amount of money, there is a limited time frame when to marry and above all you just do it, in some points...

so of course you celebrate the love. you should do, at least.

black friday..

not the best day in my life, farest not the best in my time in dhaka time,

but i guess good, cause as you do, usually, on days like that you learn a lot, about yourself, the others around you and maybe about life.

you always say that, but in that moment at the end of the day, sitting in my room and feeling pitty about me and the rest of the world i felt just horrible, weak and angree. and the funny thing was, i always was talking about it, formulated all the words , but never understood, obviously.. no i did.

it is about identity, individualism, communication possibilities, or better word, the right to speak and the missing of it, of all of them. instead stereotyping. steretyping leads to lack of communciation, leads to no individuality, no respect, no dignity, either way.

i was today at a guy party. i know guy and bangladesh a different thing. i am aware about the complexity of that case, that it is moralistic and legal forbidden, that they are trying to make chnage , that it is stil hard etc.

i was invited, the organizer knew me as a journalist and photographer. i came with a camera, i aksd three times if it would be ok, cause i  suspected no,w hich i would not have a problem with that. but he said yes, asked how many pictures i already took, to get the video out. blablabl. so i assumed that shoudl be for him. he was at least interested. so i assumed. maybe wrong. i don't know.

suddenly a guy came, atteh end of the eve. accussed me. white bitch. that i would not know, that i was like all he other whites. stuff like that. i tried to say something. he did not allow me, i stood up. he punched me on the wall. i cried he still did not care.

even when talking to the organizer, feeling pitty and shocked they did not get it.

it is not about punching, i do not take it personal at all. haha that is actualy the issue,. i acnnot take it personal, cause it is not me but a whole white generation which is responsible for everything. and i am representing them. damn i pulled the whites into dirt again.

that was what i was crying for. frustration also not be able to declare myself.

he did not care. at all. thats ok, but now i knwo how it feels, lost frustration, anger.
in one moment i actually thought. well if you really think that i can do whatever i want, cause you do not expect anything else from me and even i try to change your perception you would still not see it./

i saw this happen very often, in hungary with the gypsies, the roma and being stereotyped as being stupid, thiefs and dirty.

later on i tried to go home. firt time cng, the minicap, alone. we got a bit lost. i mixed up teh way. i am sorry. not that much but a bit. and teh we stood on tedoor. i wanted to give him 70 thaka more. quite a lot he wanted to have 500 intotal, taht would 300 more. we argued. minimal, cause nobody knew each other language. i could run away. he had the money in his hand, i was in front of my apartment. i knew he would not do anything. but i stayed out of respect. because i was not used to it.
he got his money. i felt sick. left him. i am just a spoiled white you ca rip off. basically it is your duty to get ripped of.

in the morning i was out with adnan, shooting pictures from the recycling people. portrait, individually, interviewed.

a way to give them a voice. individually, respect, self confidence. honour.

in some point adnan was talking about the whites who are coming in and giving teh peopel money for pictures, the whites who are destroying the system.

one afternoon...

park, dhanmondi, dhaka, feb 2012

park, dhanmondi, dhaka, feb 2012


paper, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012
we are invited, to the printing house. from drik. planned it for a while and finally.

drik is printing a new book. about the liberation war. and around, teh struggle, teh suceed, editit by shahidul and reza, the two in charge of drik.

it was interesting. i like bookd , thinking about books, paper, size, texture, printing method.

so i liked it. i think sadia as well.

but printing is boring for everybody who is not interested. as mist of the things. just me and sadia are a bit of giegs.

men, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

sitting, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

looking, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012
in some points i was calculating. how much would it be to get books printed here. cheaper, more expensive. my mind started to think in numbers. rolling. depending on the size amount it would costs from 15 tahak till 800. manual colour managment, individual hand binding.  quick delivery.
great deal.

i guess this is probably what a lot of people start to make business in bangladesh. realizing how cheap it is. and how important it is in that moment to save money. cause i don't have money. not enough to produce and sell and earn in germany. not even close. that would be a possibility.

also i help the economical system here. not the one in germany but here, in bangaldesh. and we are living in times of globalization. so what is wrong with that.

but when do u have enough money, and is it a justification for doing what you have. do the bangladeshi mind that you are coming from abroad and paying less than they would do in their country? or is it just business as usual, and with the foreigner from usual play and not knowing anything else in competing for the best deal.

at the end i am deciding against it, in my head. because of artistic choices. maybe not practical. i like to see my books produced not too me localy, but locally to my subject matters. that would be ncie.

or having a publisher. that would be also nice.

living, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

wall and paper, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012
just one thing. the machines were from germany. he said, evi is from the same country the machines are from. i thought it was radnom and typical.

like beng in a foreign country and getting to everything everybody introduced which is kind of connected to germany. as i would automatically like it.

anyway he said, i ignored. but later, going through the different departments i started to understand.

the machines were, at least for me, amazing, from little whole air came out and made the paper not too the bottom of the machine. amzing.

the machine looks like from teh 60s. the brand settled in heidelberg, a little town in the southwest of germany, more popular for its university and good climate.

i got proud a bit.
print, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

walla nd steps, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

chair, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

restpaper, printing house, kalabagan, dhaka, feb 2012

little moments.

my house, dhanmondi, dhaka, feb 2012
i love living in my place. it is quiet,w ell as quiet as it can get in dhaka. it is secure, or at least when the guys at the door watching. they do, mostly, but sometimes i sneak through.

the guys at the door are there in shift patterns. at the beginning i thought the two were one, the same. did not get it that they are different person. but i got the idea that they were treating me differently. the one, during the day, with a slightly shorter face, always smiles more, the other one just looks without expression when he sees me looking through the little whole of the big gate to sign them to open the door. sometimes he smiles as well, wehn i say salam alaikum. sometimes but most of the time not.

the first time i recognized the difference was when i gave them leftovers from our sweets. he did not smile. no thank you. but he took it. in the evening i asked the guy how he liked it. he did not know about it. or that was what i understood.

what i read so far they earn 3000 and 5000 thaka, around that per month. the place i am renting in the place they are working is 10000, for one room. they work everyday, 12 hours. i think. at least this is what i see.

i don't know their name, still. still smiling when i leave the place. i really like them.  and i need to say they look very similar
my house, dhanmondi, dhaka, feb 2012

talking a bit...

wall, pathsala, pantha path, dhaka, feb 2012
pathsala is a school. it is a photography school. and famous. a lot of important photographers come from there. people say. munem wasif came from there. he still is theer teacher. he is the only one i know.

it is a small school, quite central in dhaka in a kind of backyard, reachable through a gate, next to a pizza place, next to the tea house.

every year has to batches, spring and winter, 30 students each. also some workshops, daily, weekly, monthly. they are doing well. as i heard.

i am giving a lecture today. in front of the first year students.

window, pathsala, pantha path, dhaka, feb 2012
i talked to yan. that was were it started. yan said i should teach. or i think she said this. u never know, your mind plays sometimes tricks on you and you wanan hear things more than they are there.

than i wrote to hasib, the director, or vice principle. and tehn we met, one time, two times, talked and then i got my lecture, finally, after thinking about workshop an chittagong.

at least a lecture, about contemporary ideas. about seeing and not seeing, about possibilities and no possibilities.

 hasib: why are european photographers are always taking images from middles class?
me: hwy is there always a fashion around photojournalist to take images from poorer or upperclass?

within photojournalism and documentary depending on the area etc. there are certain fashion statements of topics.

in my last school it was: poverty, drugs, crazy people, refugees, prison
in pj world: hospitals, insanity, poverty, war, demonstrations
in art world: middle class, love, dreams, identity

so that's perfect. everybody is doing there little bit. isn't it.

cigarettes, pathsala, pantha path, dhaka, feb 2012

after the lecture we are talking, about photography, work, being a photographer, thinking abut work. again not trying to impose ideas on somebody else, but coming from a different background and never aware how bad that would be.

not being used to that, to be honest. was no issue in america. but here it is again. i am white, with a white opinion and of course implying with my white opinion something on them. i never thought about that. that it would be an issue. such an issue.

but maybe became just for me an issue, cause i made an issue out of it. mind plays tricks on you, isn't it.

playing around...

yan's stillife, studio, drik, dhaka, feb 2012
yan is a documentary photographer, for pathsala. for drik news she is a news photographer and in the mean time she is doing still life, for pathsala, one class. that is not usual.

there is a fashion. aspects which are cool. good to do. appreciated. as in every subject. in photography it is art and documentary. food very uncool, fashion so lalala and advertisment just if it pops into the above stated subjects.

i wanted to become food photographer when i started photography. i had no clue about photography but that was what i liked. now i am doing documentary. am i in the curse of fashion?

i like documentary, i am curious. i think that is the most important thing, i am curious, opinionated and share my thoughts. and i like beautiful pictures.

when i asked my young creatives from dhaka why they like what they doing and what most they cannot answer it. it seems like every part is treasure and curse at the same time.

last year i did not understand anymore what photography mean for me. or better i knew that but i doubted the reason i am doing all this. people did not believe in me, so did i.

i hate this about photography. people make it so about you. but it is not. it is just a craft you have to master. with me. i could give it up easily, but it needs to be replaced. because of curiousity, opinion and communication.

yan loves documentary photography, she takes very distant shots, landscape like. in her school, pathsala peopel always say'go closer' or they don't understand her. and she likes still life photography.

does it matter? both?

yan, studio, drik, dhaka, feb 2012

equipment, studio, drik, dhaka, feb 2012