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Meer Sadi: The Artist behind Dhaka (Not how Netflix Portrayed it)

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

·       My name is Meer Sadi. I was born and brought up here in Dhaka. I completed my O-levels from Academia School and A-levels as a private candidate. I studied ACCA (Chartered Accountancy)  for a while (upto Skills level), but later decided to study computer science and engineering at United International University. 

 

2. Tell us about the journey of “MEER SADI PHOTOGRAPHY”.

·        My photography journey started in 2009, when I started falling in love with photography. I was a beginner freelance graphic designed at the time. So one day, when searching for stock photos for a project, I came across Flickr.com and I was simply overwhelmed and amazed by the photos that were taken by some brilliant Bangladeshi photographers. I decided then that I would definitely try to learn the craft of photography and that is how everything started.

 

3. You have chosen a little different category of photography, why is that?

·        It might sound as a cliché, but like anyone I wanted my work to be different and to stand out. In order to do that I had to choose something that hasn’t been done before by many or anyone at all, I’m not very good with people so Street or Lifestyle photography wasn’t a very good choice for me. Also, being a resident of the city I have always wanted to portray it the way I’ve seen it through my lens. You see, a pospular image of Bangladesh to the outside world is that it is basically a poor country (which there is no denying it is) with countless issues (a lot of which are true). What I set out to do through my work was to change that perception a little, there are other aspects to it and I wanted to share how one of the world’s most densely populated city looks from above.

 

4. When did you plan about your photo series “Dhaka”? How did you execute it? A little brief on it and the challenges you faced while executing it.

·       I thought to do a series about Dhaka in 2011 but I wasn’t very serious about it until 2012-2013. From 2012, I started visiting different locations for photos. I started connecting with a lot of people online. I had to go through a lot of trouble to get access to the high-rise building rooftops. But with time and a lot of persuasion I managed the permission and got the shots I wanted. There were locations for which I had to wait for up to a year to get access.

 

5. What’s your 10 most favorite pictures from the ‘Dhaka’ series?

·       10 most favorite photos :

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6. Any interesting story or incident you experienced during this photo series or after once you uploaded?

·       Here are some interesting stories in no particular order:

- So one evening after shooting in Mirpur 1, I was on my way home on a bus, and as I got off I felt someone following me and before I could understand anything that guy snatched my camera bag and took off. I had just lost my first DSLR camera, and had lost all hopes of doing photography ever again. But that is when I got my biggest surprise and motivation to continue photography no matter what. Perhaps you’re wondering what the surprise was? Well, the following week I shared the news of losing my camera in social media and in the flickr photography community, and everyone sent their consolation messages and good wishes. To my surprise, a South African wildlife photographer messaged me and offered to help and politely thanked her for her good gesture and said that her prayers will suffice. The photographer messaged me again and insisted on helping and offered me a decent amount of money so that I could buy a new camera by adding that to what I had in savings at that time, I was a bit skeptical at first but I said why not. I really wasn’t expecting anything from that photographer, but she did keep her word and transferred the money to my account within a month. That was the biggest motivation for me in my photography career and I am forever grateful.

- Another fun experience I had was during my 2015 and 2016 Cityscape photo-shoots. Mehraj Hossain, a friend & an associate photographer used to join me on my cityscape shoots and we’d go to the locations on his bike together. We did a photo series during Ramadan of 2015 and 2016 when we’d go to the locations just before Iftaar. We’d usually bring takeaway iftar with us to those high-rise rooftops and had our Iftaar there. The whole city became so calm as soon the as Adhan for Maghrib prayers was given. It felt like the whole city had come to a stand-still for a brief moment. That is an experience that I will never forget.

 

7. What’s your opinion about the current Photography industry as a whole?

·       Our photography industry as a whole is bigger and better. Bangladeshi Photographers are very renowned all over the globe. Prestigious awards like the Pulitzer, World Press Photo Award, HIPA awards, Sony World Photography Awards and many more are being secured by Bangladeshi photographers. The young photographers are also doing a great job and my best wishes for everyone.

 

8. So what’s next? Any new photo series?

·       Well yes, I have been planning something but can’t disclose what it is as of now. Hopefully you’ll see when I complete it in the future.

 

9. What’s your dream project?

·       My dream project is photograph all the major cities in the world in my own style.

 

10. Your 3 Favorite photographers.

·       Well I have a lot more than 3 favorite photographers, but off the top of my head I would say my current three favorite photographers are

- Elia Locardi

- Benjamin Von Wong

- Thomas Heaton

 

11. Where do you see “MEER SADI PHOTOGRAPHY” after 10 years?

·       Well, I do commercial industrial photography, Hotels and Interior Design photography, Real-Estate and Architectural photography professionally so in 10 years I would like my work and services to be among the best in the industry and of course I would like to see myself as a better person.

 

 

You. Yes, you.
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