Illusions and the eye doctor
By Saniya Bhutta
LAHORE: Seeing the Wall is an exhibition of about 40 works by the eye surgeon turned photographer Azmat Kamal, whose work turns everyday objects into objets d’art.
Mr Kamal said he wanted to show the difference between simply looking and seeing. Using mundane, ordinary objects from daily life, he transforms them into compositions suitable for hanging. The arrangement of the objects, he said, creates “tension between the familiar and the mysterious”. And his ability to capture vacant space within a frame lends an eerie feel to some of his photographs.
“A photograph is an illusion, a two-dimensional perception of the world around you,” said Mr Kamal. “Photography for me is a process of discovering relationships that exist between things. These photographs are about reducing information, putting the elements in an order, and making logical choices until all components appear essential.”
Most of Mr Kamal’s compositions play with space and lines. Stark contrasts between light and dark and between lines and frame characterise his photographs. The minimal use of imagery and the specific make his works abstractions. There is much more going on in the picture than meets the eye. But what is visible is Mr Kamal’s ability to transmogrify the common and mundane into the arresting.
“If a photograph can capture someone’s attention for even 20 seconds, I consider it successful,” said Mr Kamal, adding that people have begun to recognise good imagery because of the media onslaught via cable and the Internet. “It’s a challenge for a photographer to (viewers) involved,” he said.
Mr Kamal’s imagery, most of which is in neutral colours, is illusory. Most of the works can be mistaken for paintings. There are works featuring water droplets clinging to a wire, a ball in a dimly lit stairway, the corner of a bed, reeds, chairs, windows. The artist is pleased with his close-up technique, which challenges perception.
“When the mind and the eye are trained to perceive images, they stop questioning the reality of them,” said Mr Kamal, who has been making pictures since he was 13. The featured works span years and can be seen at the Rohtas-II Art Gallery, 156 Model Town from noon to 7.00pm until February 8. The gallery is closed Sundays.