Salma Abedin Prithi Dhaka, Bangladesh
Salma Abedin Prithi’s photographs investigate the vulnerability and psychological struggle of ordinary people. During her graduation in photography at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, she met different people of Dhaka and realized how sensitive and psychological people are, even when they are going through hard physical reality. Prithi is particularly interested on rituals and women’s iconography.
Salma Abedin Prith was chosen by photographer Hadi Uddin
Laatikkomo’s interview with Salma Abedin Prithi February 21st, 2018.
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have
SAP: I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was born and brought up in old part of the city (Old Dhaka).
People from old Dhaka always influenced me, they were very warm. And also smell of the small
alleys was also very different. The whole locality was so lively and intimate. I also like their
colloquial language where they sound quite loud.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
SAP: I don’t have any earliest memory of photography. Painting influenced me to make image. Paul
Gauguin and Van Gogh were my early inspirations.
L: With some of your projects, the process seems to involve direct collaboration with your subjects;
where they expose deep feelings in writing. Do you also collaborate with other artists, or with your
subjects through different forms of expression?
SAP: I don’t have any collaboration with the artists. My subjects are often very close to me. I spend time
with them, talk and hang out together. Over time we both start to trust each other to expose our
personal feelings and personal moments. This is also one form of collaboration for me. I believe
this informal collaboration makes my photos different and also surprising things happen when I
stage a situation.
L: Although you immerse yourself in new situations with unknown people, you are not simply
taking documentary or journalistic images. It seems the work you create is closer to portraiture
because of the intimacy apparent in your images. Without giving away any professional secrets,
can you tell us what goes into your process of creating and executing a project?
SAP:My subjects are urban middle class people who have many personal suppressions with this
excessive speed of life and pressure of earning. I try to share my personal stories too so that we
come down to a horizontal level of a conversation. I don’t act like a professional photographer or
serious artist. I feel comfortable to share my own stories too. This creates friendship very quickly
with the unknown people and their body and mind becomes much more frank and relaxed. I don’t
have any traditional documentary intention to record something or investigating a news value. I
want to photograph those people and moments which are not neccessarily news to the mainstream
L: In your introduction text you talk about your interest in women’s iconography. Do you foresee a
future in which women are justly recognized for their contribution to society? And do you think
photography will have a role in this revolution?
SAP: It is a continous process and there is definately a growth of women empowerment. I don’t think
photography alone can bring the change. Yes, it can touch people’s emotion and senses but this
will not drastically bring any result. I dream of a positive future and I trully believe women will be
recognised not only for their contribution but also for being as they are. There shouldn’t be any
inequality of any genders.
L: Photography is often used to talk about memory and the past, but your images seem to be
talking about the future. What are your thoughts on the distortion or preservation of time through
SAP: For me Photography itself creates a parrelal truth or parrelal world which doesn’t need tob e
connected to presence or history. It can create a psuedo present or history which will be much
more humanistic and desired. I don’t think my photographs are futuristic. They are of real time and
real feelings and imaginations of the time. They are parrelal reality, they are suggestive, they are
an inquiry to our understanding of presence and past. I want to live in presence without adjusting to
the given reality. I want to take a control of it and add a humanistic layer to it.
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
SAP: Personal. Women. Solitude. Violence. Slowness. City.
Thank you so much!!