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Walking past the coast of Rio de Janeiro reminded me of Karachi

Updated May 05, 2017 02:22pm

On the face of it, very little seems to be in common between Karachi and Rio de Janeiro. But after having visited Rio and Karachi, I realised that the two cities have commonalities. Both the metropolises are coastal cities and invite everyone to visit their beaches and contemplate life.

It's the contemplating gaze at the ocean, its waves, the endless strip of sand, and the sky that's common between Karachi and Rio, between Sea View and Ipanema. This is where they meet, engage and have a conversation.

I have spent a lot of time in Karachi and the beaches here. When I went to Rio and walked by its waters, there were many instances – some fleeting, others a little more lasting – that reminded me of Karachi.

As waves hit the shore and went back into the ocean, there were these flashback moments that hit me as well. I tried to capture them before they also went away.

Sometimes it was a gesture, positioning, pose or just an expression. It's these moments, as well as this poem by Paul Valéry, that inspired me to do this project:

La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée!

O récompense après une pensée
qu'un long regard sur le calme des dieux!

Sea, the sea beginning each occasion

to bring such riches in from contemplation:

great settlements of calm the gods inspire.



The blue of the chairs, the blue of her clothes / The orange of the flowers on the umbrella, the orange of her plastic bag.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

The purple of the doll's hair, the purple of her clothes / Both identical in how they're standing and looking at the water.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

Hands crossed in contemplation.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

Arms crossed in contemplation.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.
Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

The yellow of the football, the yellow of the buckets / Both waiting for customers, they have something to sell. Life at the beach is a source of income.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

The orange of his beanie, the orange of the camel's decoration / The grey and white of his blanket, the grey and white of his headscarf


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

The peak of the mountain, the camel's hump.


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

Young or old, the same, playful hand gesture


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

The green of the bottle and red of the light/ The green of her ribbon and the red of the chair


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Hand to the head


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

The purple of her scarf, the purple of her hair


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

There are balls at every beach


Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.
Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.

Off to somewhere


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Ready for the beach in bright colours


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Fixing the hair


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.

Walking along the coast, both in white amidst the sea of waves


Sea View, Karachi.
Sea View, Karachi.
Ipanema, Rio.
Ipanema, Rio.


All photos by the author.


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