Parks are of immense value to their cities. Whether it’s about aesthetic, environmental, recreational or economical values, parks are a place for refreshment for the city’s inhabitants and add some openness to the streets. Bangladesh’ capital, Dhaka city, houses over 20 million people, with new fortune seekers arriving every day. You can only imagine the importance of a park in such a densely urbanized area. Bangladesh based documentary photographer Mohammad Rakibul Hasan decided to go out and capture the wonderful circus-like life in the parks.
“The flora of Dhaka is completely threatened by desperate urbanization and industrialization.”
M.R. Hasan: The park is a dynamic place, a place for refreshment. People often come here to isolate themselves and get a breath of fresh air. Not only does the park give the city’s inhabitants a sense of openness, but it also accommodates street people and urban wildlife.
“Public parks, open spaces and playgrounds around the city are the only resorts for the general public”
These parks are important, as areas with extensive vegetation are a source of oxygen, help prevent air pollution as well as maintaining an ecological balance by providing refuge for birds and stray animals.
Every day a wide range of people come and go into the park, except those who already live there, like people who run small businesses in the park. It’s also a home for many homeless – a community within the community, so to say. A few of these parks are floating slums, fraught with unhygienic conditions causing disease.
“The city already has been declared as the most unlivable city in the world and has lost a lot of its capacity to give comfort to its dwellers”
(Unfortunately), the fate of all the existing parks, vegetation and natural water reservoirs, are in the hands of wealthy, powerful people. Corruption and a lack of proper governance are the causes of these places disappearing.
The city already has been declared as the most unlivable city in the world and has lost a lot of its capacity to give comfort to its dwellers. More high-rise buildings are taking the place of empty spaces and lakes and the number of poor inhabitants is rising quickly. So it’s important to decentralize Dhaka city as well as to increase numbers of parks and other recreation facilities to save this place from an impending disaster.
I consider the photography of parks a specific genre, because of its content and the specific style. Each picture can stand on its own or adjoin with every other photograph to continue the story.
“Precious moments go away in a fraction of a time, always get ready for the unexpected on the street.”
I’ve chosen to shoot this series in black and white, generalizing the subjects and show everyone from a neutral point of view: as equal. As the park is a public place, getting access wasn’t the hard part. A keen observation, reflex and motivation were the key factors to achieve this series.
“I’ve used a Canon 5D Mark II with Canon 35 mm L lens for the entire story”
Taking photos of strangers can be hard sometimes. It’s not always a very welcoming or easy task, so it’s best to use your common sense while you’re shooting in the streets. My strategy was to first take a picture, and when everything seems safe enough, approach the subject to see if they had any objections.