Humans of Karachi

The Citizens Archive of Pakistan presents “The Humans of Karachi” – a Pakistani version of a photo project titled “Humans of New York” , which was initiated by Brandon Stanton over two years ago. It is only recently that his project went viral on Facebook and upon his encouragement, several artists started a “Humans of” series in their native cities. The photographer behind “Humans of Karachi” is Khaula Jamil, who is assisted by Kamran Bhai (KB) on every shoot.  – Photos and captions by Khaula Jamil

Click here to read more about the project and the creative mind behind it.

A man poses outside his shop at Bohri Bazaar. There was something slightly surreal, slightly beautiful and well, slightly creepy about this.
A man poses outside his shop at Bohri Bazaar. There was something slightly surreal, slightly beautiful and well, slightly creepy about this.
"Sir, eik tasveer?" ("Sir, one picture?")
"Madam, teen lo!" ("Madam, take three!")
"Sir, eik tasveer?" ("Sir, one picture?") "Madam, teen lo!" ("Madam, take three!")
After a few shots I asked him if he would, perhaps, smile for one shot. His reply: 
"I have taken several pictures of myself. This is my best camera look."
After a few shots I asked him if he would, perhaps, smile for one shot. His reply: "I have taken several pictures of myself. This is my best camera look."
They told me ten of them, along with two water-coolers and a picnic basket in hand, came in a single rickshaw all the way from Karimabad. I challenged them to show me how and they agreed. Here they are – the family of ten in a rickshaw!
They told me ten of them, along with two water-coolers and a picnic basket in hand, came in a single rickshaw all the way from Karimabad. I challenged them to show me how and they agreed. Here they are – the family of ten in a rickshaw!
Satish is pictured here in a place tucked away by a few hundred feet from the hustle bustle of the metropolitan city life, where noises of urban culture have the ability to overpower even your thoughts. This tranquil place of worship, whose foundation was laid in 1943, predates even the country it sits in.
Satish is pictured here in a place tucked away by a few hundred feet from the hustle bustle of the metropolitan city life, where noises of urban culture have the ability to overpower even your thoughts. This tranquil place of worship, whose foundation was laid in 1943, predates even the country it sits in.
As we were crossing this beautiful shop there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to photograph its owner in it but when he came walking towards us, to be honest, I thought he would never agree to be photographed. Sometimes, one just asks anyway, prepared for not just a refusal but a lecture on the wrongness of photography too – and when your question is met with warmth and smiles instead you realise never to just assume and walk away ever again.
As we were crossing this beautiful shop there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to photograph its owner in it but when he came walking towards us, to be honest, I thought he would never agree to be photographed. Sometimes, one just asks anyway, prepared for not just a refusal but a lecture on the wrongness of photography too – and when your question is met with warmth and smiles instead you realise never to just assume and walk away ever again.
This is the 100th photograph of Humans of Karachi and it just had to be of a very special man and his friends. After a wonderful chat and some photographs later, I commented that he had a beautiful smile – so friendly and genuine. His friends immediately jumped in saying, "Madam, you have no idea, every person he meets absolutely adores him- he has this way with people that is almost magical."
"Its no magic," said the red-bearded man, humbly, “for 66 years, if you stay happy in the head, you stay happy in the hear
This is the 100th photograph of Humans of Karachi and it just had to be of a very special man and his friends. After a wonderful chat and some photographs later, I commented that he had a beautiful smile – so friendly and genuine. His friends immediately jumped in saying, "Madam, you have no idea, every person he meets absolutely adores him- he has this way with people that is almost magical." "Its no magic," said the red-bearded man, humbly, “for 66 years, if you stay happy in the head, you stay happy in the hear
Welcome to Itwaar (Sunday) Bazaar.
Here we have a beautiful lady surrounded by endless knowledge, ready to be photographed (as long as I get her hair right).
Welcome to Itwaar (Sunday) Bazaar. Here we have a beautiful lady surrounded by endless knowledge, ready to be photographed (as long as I get her hair right).
Two very funky sisters who participated in the flash mob at Port Grand.
Two very funky sisters who participated in the flash mob at Port Grand.
"My picture? What do I look like Katrina Kaif to you or something?" This was the girl's reply to us when we approach to photograph her.
"My picture? What do I look like Katrina Kaif to you or something?" This was the girl's reply to us when we approach to photograph her.
This man at Empress Market asked for the best chicken in the shop to pose with, so his helper got him a pretty white one. Highly insulted he scolded him.
"You want the world to see Haji Sahib holding a white chicken? What will people think of me! Get me the black one."
Black chicken mythology anyone?.
This man at Empress Market asked for the best chicken in the shop to pose with, so his helper got him a pretty white one. Highly insulted he scolded him. "You want the world to see Haji Sahib holding a white chicken? What will people think of me! Get me the black one." Black chicken mythology anyone?.
"Seriously? There is a Humans of Karachi?"  Usman replied when we asked him to pose. The Angry Birds eyebrows and frame of his glasses are just wow.
"Seriously? There is a Humans of Karachi?" Usman replied when we asked him to pose. The Angry Birds eyebrows and frame of his glasses are just wow.
Driving by after a shoot in Saddar we crossed him. I managed to click just in time for what I thought would be a good shot of an old man selling cummerbunds (elastic). 
It was not until I was editing did I notice the broken eye glass – which I have to say – broke my heart a little too. 
Kudos to his resilience to still be out there, and what appears to be, earning a living for himself!
Driving by after a shoot in Saddar we crossed him. I managed to click just in time for what I thought would be a good shot of an old man selling cummerbunds (elastic). It was not until I was editing did I notice the broken eye glass – which I have to say – broke my heart a little too. Kudos to his resilience to still be out there, and what appears to be, earning a living for himself!

Comments (18) (Closed)


A Ahmed
Aug 13, 2012 10:14am
Khaula whereabouts did you take that picture of the old man with broken glass? Would it be possible to go looking for him get his eyes tested and get him a new pair? He wouldn't be far away from where you spotted him. I would have done it myself but I am some 5000 miles away. I would gratefully reimburse whatever it costs you ... i can be reached at paulian2000@hotmail.com. Many thanks
Khaula
Aug 20, 2012 11:58am
Thanks! No offense taken- The captions come straight from the heart so if anything you have flattered me more by appreciating what I write as opposed to capturing the existing beauty of Karachi!
Rohaan
Aug 13, 2012 08:51am
Very nice collection! That old man picture (10/13) broke my heart too.
khan in chandler
Aug 13, 2012 02:10pm
Thanks. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.
Haider
Aug 13, 2012 02:25pm
Great collection! thoroughly enjoyable!
alo (new delhi)
Aug 13, 2012 02:45pm
Beautiful photographs.
dgoy
Aug 13, 2012 05:07pm
Really beautiful photographs. Share more of your work. Thanks.
M K S
Aug 13, 2012 05:44pm
if you don't mind me saying, captions/explanation behind some of the pictures were greater than the pics themselves. I mean it in a good way honestly.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 13, 2012 07:46pm
My favorite photo is the dark Katrina Kaif. How real can it get? Wish you could see my computer wallpaper right now. One can use any of these DAWN photos as desktop background. Usually choose famous painters' work in oils. At this time using black and white.photographs of the Korean War by a famous war photographer. . In the movie business extras are called background. Movie extras = background. People are background.
Akash
Aug 13, 2012 07:48pm
Please give the old man some money to get his broken lens fixed ! ..and then post another picture of him wearing the fixed glasses.. I'm sure that will please all the readers here and yourself too.
Nutz
Aug 13, 2012 08:38pm
superb ! keep it up..please...
Bizjetdesigner,USA
Aug 14, 2012 02:05pm
Can't agree more. Realities of life.... happiness for a moment... keep up the good shooting. Thank you, Khaula & Kamran
Asad
Aug 14, 2012 02:47pm
Very nice and touchy photographs, and description of each photograph, Perfect. Small story with each photograph makes you realize what is the reason of each photograph. Thanks for sharing this.
junaid
Aug 15, 2012 05:57am
Is that Saad Ahmed?
Sara
Aug 15, 2012 07:16am
My hear broke 10/13.
Razzle469
Aug 15, 2012 05:17pm
Fantastic stuff. You managed to capture a little bit of Karachi's soul as well. Where can we see the rest of the photographs?
Nauman
Aug 16, 2012 06:32am
thanks for sharing little bit of Karachi... God Bless ..
toseef25
Aug 16, 2012 08:36am
That Chicken Haji Sahib was too great to laugh for many minutes! Loved the collection! Appreciate the spirit of A Ahmed.