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November 26, 2018

Promoting Pakistan as a destination for street photographers

Islamabad

November 26, 2018

Islamabad : With a view to promoting Pakistan as a destination for street photographers, German photographer Michael Paulo has self-curated an exhibition of absorbing photographs that are the outcome of his photowalks in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi during the last four years.

Titled ‘Urban Walks,’ the exhibition will open today (Friday) at Gallery 6. While talking to this scribe, Michael made an important point about street photography in Pakistan. He said, “Pakistan is one of the best countries in the world to do street photography. People are kind and do not mind being photographed. It is different in other countries: In Europe, you can get fined while taking pictures of people without their consent; in Africa, people run away because they think you steal their soul with your camera; in Russia, people get aggressive. With this exhibition, I would like to promote Pakistan as a destination for street photographers.”

Michael was born in 1980 in New Delhi and grew up in Pakistan and India in the first 10 years of his life. He studied Political Science in Berlin and Kazan, Russia, and photography became an essential part of his life since he started working in development cooperation.

Discussing this initiation, Michael said “When I worked in Afghanistan between 2011 and 2014, my movements were strictly limited and I found himself stuck in the office, unable to really get in touch with common people. So I took on business trips, my camera with me, and took pictures of the all-day life of normal people. When I moved to Pakistan in 2014, I continued with this passion and explored the old inner cities.”

Michael has been in Pakistan since 2014, working as a manager in development projects focusing on technical and vocational training. He started with photo-walks in Lahore and continued in Rawalpindi, first with friends and later with Pakistani photographers whom he got in touch with on Instagram. In the beginning, he took different routes through the cities—later on, he stuck to the same routes. For him, it was easier to take pictures when he knew the route, the buildings and the people living there. This gave him the possibility to shoot better pictures and to get to know the cities better.

Michael believes that the exhibition should bring the community of street photographers in Pakistan together. For this to happen, he conducted a photo competition with the Instagram page TravelBeautifulPakistan. The three winners will also present their pictures during the exhibition. He considers this community aspect as an important element as more than 50 Pakistani photographers joined him in the photowalks in the last four years.

The exhibition invites viewers to walk through the plenty of attractions hidden in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi. “Life there is fast, traffic is noisy, everybody is in a rush. In every corner, you come across ancient bazars and markets. In the labyrinth of narrow alleys, palaces are squeezed into the neighborhood. The skyline is framed by mosques and temples. To guide you on these walks, the exhibition presents a map and a description of the history and culture of the district,” the photographer stated.

The exhibition covers the following routes: a skyline of mosques and temples from Raja Bazaar to Jamia Masjid in Rawalpindi; across the walled city—from Delhi Gate to Lahore Fort; and a walkabout Pakistan’s crumbling colonial past around Empress Market in Karachi. The exhibition will continue till December 25.

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