April 20 – May 28, 2023
Despite the opportunities urban life offers, it is still chaotic. The constant cacophony of construction work and pestering pollution are sure to drive away one’s peace of mind.
I live in a warm region where night weather is comparably pleasant. Besides, the apartment buildings here are congested leaving little to no space for roaming around freely. For me, the only solace left was on the roof at night. Therefore, I used to walk on our roof after sunset. Amidst the din and bustle of city life, that little quiet time was a cherished moment for me.
Once, for a photo assignment, I shot long exposures of the dark surroundings from our roof. My photography mentor, Meg Birnbaum liked it so much that I decided to explore this idea further and thus, went to all the rooftops of my city that I could avail. The theme of horticulture in a limited space is one of the takeaways from this project.
To the best of my recollections, I have never seen nightscapes of my city from such a vantage point. As I intend to focus on the calmness, barely two or three figures appear here looming in a seemingly noiresque manner. The final vision portrayed here is undoubtedly a lot more different than reality as it is an overpopulated area. Moreover, our eyes will not discern the amount of light in a second that is projected here in a single frame as human eyes process 60 frames per second. On the contrary, these frames were exposed to light for up to 30 seconds.
About the Artist –
Rakesh Sikder was born and brought up in Khulna, a remote city of Bangladesh. The majority of his works were made in and around that city. Both Sebastião Salgado and Bangladeshi photographer Nasir Ali Mamun’s monochromatic world has had such a profound impact on Sikder that his early works were mostly in monochrome. Sikder learned to embrace color and assemble a coherent photo project under Boston based photography teacher Meg Birnbaum’s mentorship.
His photos were exhibited and included in the Judge’s Pick section in national photographic contests ‘Encaging the Exposure: Season 1’ in 2018 and ‘Breakthrough: A Carnival for Efficient Works’ in 2020 respectively. Shutterhub, a UK based photography organization published his work in their yearbook for which he also received a Griffin Museum of Photography YEARBOOK AWARD 2021. In the same year, a selection of his early black and white photos were published in a local magazine Dead Metaphor. His work was displayed for three months at a Griffin Museum satellite gallery, USA in 2022 as a part of the curated exhibition ‘Vantage Point’, making it his first overseas appearance.
Previous Executive Director and Curator of Griffin Museum of Photography, Paula Tognarelli saw Sikder’s “photograph as a trompe-l’oeil illusion that invokes quiet and contemplation.” She also added that she “could live with this photograph for hours.” In Czech Photography Masterclass n.7, Prague based Art Director and Photographer, Bara Prasilova opined that Sikder’s “photo has amazing composition, amazing colors, I think that everything was captured at the right moment no matter if this photograph was a result of just coincidence or it was a result of just total concentration of the photographer and patient waiting for the right moment. The photo is just perfect.”
A note from Meg Birnbaum, Mentor – It has been a pleasure to work with Rakesh to further his vision. His dedication to his craft is evident in the outcome and vision of the project we worked on together. I believe that Rakesh has a good eye and strong graphic sensibilities. I can’t wait to see what he does next.