In Photography, only the medium of expression and communication is visual instead of sound but the basic pursuit is the same as in Philosophy and Music. The work of the department is again a departure from the prevailing styles, approaches and concepts about photography.
The photographs produced in the department are neither aimed at providing entertainment to the viewers nor mere information for evoking passing sentiments.Their purpose is to facilitate the viewer in deriving a crystallized emotional statement which can unleash an internal dynamic within his mind in terms of a growing interaction between his emotional and intellectual processes. It is only through such a dynamic and on-going internal process that an individual can confront the growing ugliness of his existing unintelligently formed mental complex and the problems it is creating in his internal and external life. And connect with his core human sensitivities for rejecting ugliness and pain and seeking beauty and aesthetics, which, along with a growing intellect can become the main engine for reducing contradictions and conflicts in his life, and promoting pleasure and happiness. For the photographer also these photographs must become a tool for critical self-monitoring of his own sensitivity and intellectual processes so that he is able to produce the required (for effective communication with the mental processes of the viewer) quality of photographs.
Our photographic studio is one of the best equipped in Pakistan. It has the finest studio and dark room equipment for small, medium and large format. The main focus of the department is on manual developing, printing and enlarging both in color and black and white.
Currently, the department is being run only by females (with no previous training) whom Raza and his wife Rashida have been training, both in black and white and color photography.
So far two exhibitions of Raza’s photographs have taken place; in 1988 his photographs were exhibited at the Commonwealth Gallery in London and at the National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore in May 2003. Raza and Rashida’s photographs were also chosen for ‘Another Asia’ Noorderlicht Photofestival 2006, held every year in Holland. Rashida’s photographs were exhibited in Lahore in 1984, in Austria in 2007 and in Morocco in 2008.
The department in collaboration with an Austrian NGO, ipsum (Lat: ipsum= ‘the self’ ), also had the privilege of conducting workshops on photography in Lahore, (2004), Pakistan, Balochistan province of Pakistan (2005) and Kabul, Afghanistan (2006). In pakistan the workshops were for school going boys and girls from different social backgrounds and in Afghanistan for University students and street children. The purpose of such workshops is to capture how the participants’ first step towards a conscious perception of their world result in a multitude of rich, original and very creative images.
The department and Shireen Pasha productions co-produced SIPA’s first documentary film ‘Hima remembers’. The film has been screened at international festivals in Europe, Asia and North America. It has also been shown many times at the Travelling South Asian Film Festival from Kerala in India, Sindh in Pakistan to Virginia in USA. In most festivals the film opened to a full house.