The Dying ‘Art of Public Photography’
By: Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, July 13, 2010: It goes without saying that advancement in technology has been a blessing for humans in general. However, it has badly affected the work of several artists in Pakistan who still heavily depend upon their manual techniques even in today modern age.
Photography is one such art. About a couple of years back, numerous photographers, carrying their cameras, having a lot of film rolls in their bags used to roam about at different picnic spots, offering their services to the tourists. But now you will rarely find any such photographers there, because most of the tourists carry their own digital cameras and handy cams with them, while traveling.
Muhammad Farooq, alias ‘Doctor’ is such a photographer, who roams in Lake View Park, carrying a camera and a bag containing film rolls and batteries of camera. He has been doing photography for last 16 years in different picnic spots. For the last three years he has been doing photography in Lake View Park. He said, “Since the arrival of digital camera, I have become almost job-less. Now I don’t find any visitor who is interested in my old styled photography.”
He said that he earns only 100 to 150 rupees daily now, if he gets a chance to make snaps of visitors, otherwise he only finds one to two customers who purchase either film roll or batteries of camera from him.
Ghulam Murtaza and Mansoor Ahmed are two other photographers, working in the same park. Both of them have been associated with this profession for more than 10 years. They also said that they only manage to earn 100 to 150 rupees at the end of the day.
“For us, technology has proved to be a curse. We can do photography by using new technology, but it is useless exercise. We can not afford the latest equipment and people do photography on their own using their digital cameras.”
All three (Muhammad Farooq, Ghulam Murtaza and Mansoor Ahmed) work jointly and distribute their earning equally among themselves in the evening. They demanded of the CDA either to give them a proper job as Photographers or to facilitate them with a kiosk and computer in the park where they could develop their photographs and could increase their income.
“We request CDA to give us the status of permanent employees and help us setting up a studio here where we can meet our professional needs,” they said jointly.
These three and numerous other photographers roaming on different spots of the Capital are hopeless, as their potential customers (visitors) do photography on their own. After giving precious decades of their lives to this profession, these photographers have earned nothing other than regrets as this profession is about to die its own death and is breathing its last breaths.