M.R. Hasan – Park life

 

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.”

An infant brought to the park by her parents to celebrate Bengali New Year festival.

An infant brought to the park by her parents to celebrate Bengali New Year festival.

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.

Street children take rest in the park.

Street children take rest in the park.

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.

Horse had a wash in the park lake

Horse had a wash in the park lake

Boy with his horse entertains people in the park.

Boy with his horse entertains people in the park.

“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.

A street mother is taking care of her daughter.

A street mother is taking care of her daughter.

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.

A street prostitute is bathing in a park lake

A street prostitute is bathing in a park lake

Several tea shops in the park serve refreshment drink and also create job opportunities for low income earners

Several tea shops in the park serve refreshment drink and also create job opportunities for low income earners

“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.

Street children are playing in the lake

Street children are playing in the lake

About M.R. Hasan

Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a documentary photographer based in Bangladesh, represented by Falcon Photo Agency, Australia. He has studied Film & Video Production at the University of Sydney, Completed a Post Graduate in Photojournalism through a scholarship program of World Press Photo. He was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass, UNICEF photo of the year and short-listed in the Sony World Photography Awards 2013.