July 12, 2010 | Comments Off
Almost 3 years ago, in a backpacker hostel in Bangkok, I was sharing my photographs with travelers from around the world. Almost everyone liked my photographs and ideas of my writings – a book titled as The Happy Children of the Third World. I was in Bangkok for 2 days, and then moved to the north of Thailand.
A few months later, I went back to the country where I was born : Bangladesh. There, I traveled from village to village following its river route, to photograph Bangladesh’s children, to represent this country in a different way. I still remember those days and how hard I worked for my first book.
It was more than a coffee table book, with a heart touching message from a tiny third world country, Bangladesh. It reveals the stories of her people who are fighting with the massive climate change affecting the country. Regardless of what the climate does, her children always love to welcome you to their beautiful country with their ever -smiling faces.
It is a country criss-crossed by hundreds of rivers and thousands of waterways, from the Ganges plain all the way to the Bay of Bengal. You see that the highlight of Bangladesh is Bangladesh itself.
Three months later when I finished writing my first book, like every other first time author, I was filled with hopes that the book might reach everyone, and they would feel its message from their heart. However, the reality was different. I had a bitter experience with Amazon.com, who only gave a 35% royalty. Moreover, as a first time author, it was hard to believe how low the sales rating of my book really was.
This harsh reality pushed me to the world of e-books. Few of my friends and well-wishers came forward and wrote reviews in their blogs but the scenario didn’t change dramatically. From ripping off 35% royalty to 50% from e-books seller, this could not help that much.
However, the high popularity of this format enforced me to think of my own publishing company. My success story as an entrepreneur in advertising motivated me to start a journey to e-publishing.
Later, some reviews from my friends did help a bit, but the global financial crisis made a big impact on my business. As a crazy traveler, I kept exploring continuously and spending almost every penny I earned from advertising on my travels. Seasons came and went, and years later, I finished writing my second book, The Quintessence of Photography, Understanding Composition.
A friend said to me, smiling; “So this is how you live, writing books and traveling endlessly. Let me take a look at it then” I handed over my tiny net-book, and it was viewed by a small group.
“Wonderful…” he said, his voice thrilled.
“Wonderful message,” another replied.
“I want a copy of it! Can you send one to me?” someone said from the back.
“Yes of course,” I replied, “You can get copies of the book from my website anytime you want.”
One asked me, “Have you seen the recent movie, “Slumdog Millionaire”?
“No I haven’t,” I replied.
“Your book truly represents the life of third world countries,” he added. I was so happy to hear all those comments, and then I politely asked them to see my other book, The Quintessence of Photography: Understanding Composition.
Just after going through some pages, they all wanted me to give them some tips about photography, and I did. They were the people I met back in Yak Kharka, a small village located at about 4000m, on the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal. I had never thought that giving those small tips would become my profession one day. I started teaching photography and its artistic side from two of my books, in universities, and taking workshops in almost every country I visited.
Yak Kharka was the place where I met one of my close friends, Felice Breitkreutz, a photographer and writer from the USA; she is now the contributing editor of this magazine and the editor of all my books. After she joined, there was a dramatic change in the content of what we published.
Publishing company, – Image of the centuries ( Now known as Light & Composition Books ), started selling e-books. And within 2 months of introducing Image of the Centuries, we have our best seller, The Quintessence of Photography, Understanding Composition.
We set our goal to use the web as a place which promises freedom, with the perfect combination of creativity, design, and art direction. We started creating opportunities for writers, photographers, and designers to express their unique vision through their individualistic works.
We soon realized that giving high quality books is not enough, and that we need to produce something for everyone, especially those who are creative and don’t want to manipulate things.
We concluded that we want to produce a magazine that will inspire people towards the true essence of photography, and give awards & recognition to those people who still do photography from a purist’s perspective. We cater to those who still believe in the authentic value a photograph captures in that very moment, and who do not edit/change later.
At the beginning of 2010, in Maenam, Koh Samui, Thailand, I first wrote key ideas behind this magazine. That’s the place the magazine first saw the light of this world. Every morning I woke up and told my friends Jim and Stanley that I was going to publish a magazine within 10 days!
No, it didn’t happened in 10 days; connecting with friends, setting up a separate office space, organizing the team, explaining key ideas, and motivating them to work together took a long time, and at some points, I lost all interest. However, seeing the simple work of Aude-Emilie Dorion, after meeting with her on the island of Koh Chang, Thailand, motivated me to reinitiate production of the magazine.
After finishing the first volume of the magazine, the team members were extremely happy, but another big task was still waiting: creating the “photo of the day” part.
Jim Perceval, Mostafa Monwar, Aude-Emilie Dorion, and Sanjay Gajjar gave their photographs and descriptions and more than a week later, on the 20th of June, 2010, when we opened the photo of the day for all, we started getting emails – way more than we ever expected.
Our team from Germany, France, New York, Bangladesh and Thailand having a hard time keeping track of the entity participating in this contest. Some participants submitted really amazing photographs, but verifying authenticity lengthened the process.
We do not accept any HRD photos or photos that have been edited in Photoshop, so contestants need to submit RAW format or original copies of their photographs.
There are many more photographs that will be coming in the every month. Now it’s your time to vote for the best one from the Photo of the Day Contest. Voting will show your support to the participants and that you believe in the goal that we are dreaming of achieving, which is to create opportunities for writers, photographers, and designers to express their unique vision through their unique works.
Editor-in-Chief & CEO
Light & Composition
July 12, 2010