Chobi Mela 2013
Sarker Protick – Less is More
Sabhanaz Rashid Diya
Photos: Sarker Protick
When one meets Sarker Protick, he would immediately strike as a musician. His fingers are slender from having plucked guitar strings for too long, his eyes intent and dreamy at the same time. Interestingly though, one wouldn't be too wrong; not so long ago, Protick was indeed part of a band.
“Photography wasn't a conscious decision on my part. I liked taking pictures and got admitted to Pathshala. For the first two years, I had no idea what I was doing there, except that I really enjoyed taking pictures,” confessed Protick. “In celebration of 12 years of Pathshala, a book was published comprising of some of the more meaningful works from photographers who have emerged from Pathshala – and my work was selected. It was then I realized if there was something I liked doing, and I was doing well at it – I might as keep doing it.”
Protick's work carries an endearingly original voice. Simple, minimalist, poignantly personal – his philosophy of less is more is well defined in his photographs. In the story of his grandparents, John and Prova – titled What Remains and exhibiting in ChobiMela VII – Protick relays the sense of a waiting, of a life spent between two people and the rekindling of a bond. He admits how he once didn't enjoy their company because he didn't know what to talk about; but as he began photographing solely to break the silence, he began rediscovering relationships beyond what is evident. His grandmother passed away during the project, and Protick began to visit his grandfather more frequently so he had someone to talk to – and now, what began as a simple process of recognition has evolved to an eternity of belonging.
“I often feel artists have a label of being vagabond, particularly in context of Bangladesh. A responsible institution perhaps guides the artist, and makes him or her realise that being professional and organized is just as much of an art as what is being produced,” shares Protick. “I feel responsible towards the medium, in terms of redefining it and exploring it – but photography for me has always been a personal calling. Many of the best photographers in the world are self-taught, but I'm glad something like Pathshala exists for those of who can do better and learn much more than just technicalities.”
Protick essentially feels the best work comes from within the heart. It is important to be hard working and smart, but it's more important to have talent, to develop something original that comes from one's guts. He has lived by it till now and bravely admits he hasn't regretted it, yet.
COURTESY: TUSHIKUR RAHMAN