Art has always been used as a form of expression, whatever the medium might be. In recent years, we’ve seen artists raise their voices for social issues plaguing the country. With a high fan following and a platform to communicate with a larger audience, it is now more imperative than ever for artists to take a stand against societal evils.
Shahroz Hyder is fashion photographer, visual artist and film student currently based in Lahore. Two years ago he moved from Karachi to Lahore to pursue a degree in film making. He describes his work as “therapy” for him, saying, “it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy and my vocation is also my vacation in the true sense of the word.”
Shahroz recently uploaded a photoshoot in which he tackled the issue of female infanticide in Pakistan. Referring to the horrible practice wherein female babies are killed in their infancy, usually because the family simply prefers having a male child. In Pakistan, this is still practiced and daughters are usually considered a burden on the family.
His project was titled ‘stelliferous’ – belonging to the stars, in which he highlights the issue beautifully. He said the shoot was an impromptu idea which popped into his head during a busy college day, and he executed it on the same day with the help of a friend who readily volunteered to be the face of his shoot.
“The society we live in doesn’t really appreciate art, what they appreciate is entertainment.”
Photography and Art
Shahroz says that he sees his photography as an art, but that it’s not something the Pakistani public is interested in. He says, “The society we live in doesn’t really appreciate art, what they appreciate is entertainment. It’s very difficult to be applauded for non-commercial work in a society where entertainment is always preferred over awareness.” He adds that it is extremely difficult to bring up these issues, because people usually turn a blind eye towards these taboo topics.
Talking about the response to his project, he says that it has been good but not great – but he is content that he used his platform and audience to raise awareness. He adds, “There are times when the negligent attitude of people bothered me but now I’m past that stage. I believe every drop contributes to make the mighty ocean and these little attempts are my contribution.”
“There are times when the negligent attitude of people bothered me but now I’m past that stage.”
He believes that the life of a professional photographer is usually very draining, and doing these projects can be like a breath of fresh air. “They re-energize you so that you can get back to work on assignments with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and give your best to your work while serving society too,” he says.
Perception and Reality
He also wishes to change the people’s perception of fashion photographers, saying “nowadays a lot of people tend to think that a photographer’s life is all about partying, people with such a notion clearly don’t have the foggiest idea what it entails to become a part of this league.”
While Shahroz agrees that it’s very difficult to change people’s perceptions about issues that have been plaguing our society since its inception, but he hopes his project will be a small attempt to getting the conversation started.
Shahroz’s photography can be viewed here.