Shahria Sharmin - Freedom to Love, finalist

Shahria Sharmin is a Bangladesh based documentary photographer who found her way to the profession after pursuing an education in Public Administration. She is at the end of her graduation in photography from Pathshala, South Asian Media Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her work focuses on social and cultural issues. In 2014 Shahria was awarded the Alexia Foundation Student grant for her work “Call me Heena. The samem year she was finalist of the FREEDOM TO LOVE photography award.


YOUMANTY asked Shahria Sharmin the following questions:


How did you first get into photography?

During the early years of my life, I saw my Father taking family photographs. This in turn inspired me to take photographs of my own family, with my my twin daughters always in focus . Years later I found myself fascinated by movies. The frames of the films that I studied intrigued me and I wanted to go deeper into the dynamics of frames. This led me to do a three-year course in photography at the South Asian Institute of Photography in Pathshala. Slowly I found that as I moved my lens towards a new face, I discovered an astonishing new world! The people I saw through my lens became a key inspiration for my desire to continue with photography. And that is when I fell in love with photography more deeply and realized my path was suddenly clear to me and it’s been all photography since.


What kind of equipment do you use?

 I use a Canon 5D Mark III with 35mm lens


What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?

Meeting new people, approaching the unknown and their responses varying between rejection and acceptance is what I find to be the most challenging aspect of my profession. 


For Freedom to Love photography award you submitted a reportage on the Hijra community. What motivated this series?

During the three years course at Pathshala I chose my project with garments factory workers. There I met the Hijra community. One day I was taking a walk with one of my Hijra friends and in the course of our conversation she mentioned how she desired a handsome husband and her desire to be his bride. Possessing a male body with such a desire of female psyche drew many questions and curiosity inside me and I started to dig deep into the Hijra community, forming deeper connections and more solid friendships with them. 


Is there a photographer past/present that you particularly admire?

I admire Nan Goldin’s work showing her own life in its purest form, without censorship.


What has been the most gratifying moment of your career?

For me, receiving the Alexia Grant was the most gratifying moment. It was assuring to know others supported what I was working on and it gave me the confidence to continue down this path and explore more.


What is your next dream?

My dream is to be aware of my subconscious mind and be open and confident about the dreams it pulls out as I receive new experiences walking down my path. 

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