Arif Mahmood is one of Pakistan’s most celebrated photographers and is renowned in particular for his artistic documentation of everyday life. Over the past three years he has been setting out on the streets of Karachi armed with his manual Leica cameras with mostly wide-angle lenses and black and white film to, in his words, “acquaint myself with how the street breathes.”
“The normal man on the street educates me and sometimes I latch on to a story and follow it,” says Mahmood. “But the city also keeps changing around me. Sometimes I’ll come across a building that I shot a few months ago which has now been torn down, so there’s a documentary value to this as well.”
The decision to shoot on film rather than the omnipresent digital format is very personal to Mahmood. “It’s a bridge to the past and it keeps me sane in an age where it’s not feasible or cost-effective to shoot editorially on film anymore,” says Mahmood. “Plus, at a time when people just want pristine images, I like the noise of film.”
Images on Sunday presents these photos from Saddar in Karachi as a window into a work-in-progress of the master photographer.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, November 27th, 2016