The Beauty Extractor


Photography is an art. It is that art which brings the beauty out of the ugliest item, and gives life to any inanimate, lifeless object. But that only happens if the photographer has the insight of bringing the beauty out. Yes, there are many who learn to bring those instincts, but I can solemnly say that I have seen a natural, who has by born instincts of photography. Shaina Choudhury, residing in Sylhet, is one such natural talent, who has that built-in instinct of recognizing the true beauty that lies within, and has that capability to bring that out in her pictures-and that too, without any sort of edits.


All it took to set her off was a Samsung camera bought in 2006 and the natural environment of her Nana Bari (house belonging to the grandfather of the maternal side). Photography by the renowned Syed Farooqi and Shabbir Ferdous added to fuel the fire that was initially ignited. Then, in July 2011, after the marriage of her best friend, the fire started burning- “after taking photos in that wedding, I just had to start taking photos on a regular basis! I even started my Facebook page last year!” she said.


Her first corporate work: becoming the official photographer for one of her colleague’s wedding. How did you feel, Shaina? “I was so excited! Weddings are very special, and so are the pictures. So if someone allowed me to take the wedding photos, that means they trust me enough to take pictures for them on their special day, that ‘yes, I want her to take my wedding pictures’. She was very happy with what I have done. The trust she put on my photography was a huge thing for me”. Shaina is proud of being a photographer, especially in a place like Sylhet, where no other female photographer has not been found as of yet. “I know everyone in Sylhet since it is a small place, and I believe that there is no other female photographer here. Yes, there are many female photographers in Bangladesh, but I think in Sylhet I am the only one; I would have known if there were any. So yes, that makes me proud.”


Now, let’s talk photography. Her best album yet? Burnt- it is one album that contains pictures which are very similar to the gothic pictures that are all over the internet. When I asked Shaina for some behind the scene gossips, here is what I got- “those pictures were taken on January. I went to Chittagong to visit one of my cousins. If you have noticed, I did not take any pictures in November and December of 2011, because I could not come up with any new themes. But then the context of ‘Burnt’ occurred to me when I thought of the people who went through a lot of pain, and I wanted to portray their sufferings. I took those pictures 3am in the morning! I told my cousin to put on eyeliner, and then we set to work. Since she is not a professional, it was tough for me. Though in the end, I had some good pictures, and they were appreciated by many, and they got the message that I wanted to convey.” Of course, I would personally say that they made a good duo!


Future plans? Since her albums are based on different themes, she is planning a colour based theme for her next album; she is confused between blue and red. And if you are thinking long term, she plans to do different photography courses and join the professional field. According to her, she still knows very little, and has a lot to learn. How to edit, for starters! Nonetheless, her unedited pictures are undoubtedly fabulous, since one can see beauty at its rawest form. Shaina says that she wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of her family and friends. She is grateful to Mohd. Salman Shah, her ‘guruji’, and her photographer friend Ajwad-her helping hand. She is also thankful to her cousin Ruhbayna for being the model of her album “Burnt”, and also to her supportive friends Razdina, Nibras, Tasfia and Maria for being her all-time models!


That is Shaina for you- a talented, yet cheerful, young lady, who has all that potential and passion for photography burning within her. Now, she is a budding photographer, and it is not long before you see her bloom. Ultimately, why is Shaina a natural? It is because of her flair to expose the beauty that lies within every element, and her ability to turn it to pictures without the help of any other gimmicks. Shaina thinks she has a lot to learn- just imagine how her works will be after she is done with her training. Watch out world-a passionate photographer is on the loose!


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