CreativeReview

Exposure: Photographer Sarker Protick

Art Director Gemma Fletcher examines the work of Photographer Sarker Protick, in the third installment of a series looking into new talent in photography, from recent graduates to photographers breaking into the industry…

Sarker Protick discovered photography aged 24 while visiting Chobi Mela, the largest photography festival in Asia, in his hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh. After his bachelor’s degree, he went on to study at Pathshala, a forward-thinking media institute where he now teaches, mentoring the next generation of photographers alongside developing his own career as a documentary photographer.

Pictured above: Love Me or Kill Me series

What Remains


Protick’s style incorporates small observations and subtle gestures. A minimalist colour palette combined with the emptiness of his compositions give the work a timelessness that feels honest and natural.

What Remains


What Remains is a touching story of aging, family and memories – a tender portrait series of his grandparents John and Prova shot over 12 months. Transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, the subject and process influenced each other, resulting in a project that helped to formulate Protick’s signature style.

What Remains


What Remains


Protick’s aim is to tell previously unheard stories from his country. While projects by Nadav Kander (Yangtze, The Long River) and Kechun Zhang (The Yellow River) have explored similar ground in China, using a river as a metaphor for constant change remains a powerful call to action in Protick’s project Of River and Lost Lands.

Of River and Lost Lands


The project describes traces of life that once were. Drowning houses and floating trees illustrate the impact of the river erosion and extreme weather on the villages in the district of Ishurdi.

Unlike many of his peers, Protick’s style of documentary engages the viewer through a more delicate spectrum of emotions resulting in a quiet, yet powerful, set of images that bring the viewer closer to the sociological intention of the work.

 

Of River and Lost Lands


Of River and Lost Lands

 

Over the years the river has changed its course, constantly reshaping the landscape, rebuilding and taking away, and many of the places in Protick’s series no longer exist.

Although many lives have been lost to the river, refugees have survived and continue to make the river bank their home. Photographed with his signature soft light, his portraits reveal the fragile and resilient beauty of humanity.

 

Of River and Lost Lands

 

In late 2014, Protick completed his most recent series Love Me or Kill Me, named after a recent film title that expresses the extreme emotions that define the genre of Dhallywood.

Although hugely popular during Protick’s childhood, the nerdy younger brother of Bollywood lacked creditability with its predictable narratives, cheap sets, crude effects and flashy costumes. Protick’s renewed fascination with his country’s native cinema comes to life in this work and is coupled with a stylistic departure more appropriate for the subject matter.

 

Love Me or Kill Me


Love Me or Kill Me


For this series, Protick created both documentary work, capturing moments happening outside the frame of the film’s director, and staged images, in which he challenged the actors to improvise moments previously unrealised by their characters.

The resulting images are a playful and humorous celebration of lo-fi cinema and suggest how his work could evolve to suit the needs of the commercial world.

Love Me or Kill Me


Love Me or Kill Me


Like many emerging photographers, his work could benefit from tighter editing in order to crystalize his message and give greater impact to his work. Editing aside, he has a strong portfolio in the making, blending the popular desaturated western aesthetic with his unique cultural heritage, positioning him as an exciting talent to watch in 2015.

sarkerprotick.com

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