A collage of images. — Photo by Whitestar
A collage of images. — Photo by Whitestar

KARACHI: Photographers capture moments to lend immortality to them. The photographers that understand the fact that more often than not moments carry stories fraught with many a moment within themselves (of joy, sadness and indifference) and encapsulate them according to their mood or feeling become artists. Therefore very few camera-clickers create art. Arif Mahmood is one such artist.

An exhibition of Mahmood’s latest body of work titled ‘Philosophy’ curated by Aesha Mahmood opened at the Chawkandi Art Gallery on Tuesday. As can be gauged by the title of the display, the artist has tried to delve deep into the paradoxes that life baffles his subjects with.

In the process he too gets pensive and tries to examine the life that an individual leads in Pakistani society as well as the collective struggle of different communities.

The exhibition has some fine, poignant images of people belonging to those segments of society which are not usually considered newsworthy.

Mahmood draws a line between ‘a’ common man and ‘the’ common man. He does not generalize and gives each person equal importance.

The face of a middle-aged man, shot and in black and white and displayed in miniature style, with nothing happening in the background in a market, tells that man’s tale through a single frozen moment. It’s the agony on his face that gives away all.

A picture depicting the daily struggle of a person. — Photo by Whitestar
A picture depicting the daily struggle of a person. — Photo by Whitestar

Mahmood does not confine himself to one particular theme. There is diversity in his creative endeavours. In the same exhibition he also touches on symbiotic relationships treating animals no differently. A dog dozing off in front of a closed shop may look like an insignificant photograph; but it is not.

An interesting exhibit on display. — Photo by Whitestar
An interesting exhibit on display. — Photo by Whitestar

It hints at the kind of inconsiderate society (for all creatures) that we’ve become.

Similarly, in one image a building appears to be the focus of the artist’s attention. Again, it is not. It’s the electricity wiring that has gone haywire which forms the basis of the picture and elevates the scene to another level.

The exhibition will continue until Feb 13.

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