Shahnaz Parvin was an Award-Winning Photo Journalist. She was a passionate Bangalee, and used to reside in Bangladesh, until she passed away at the age of 32 on August 14, 2016. She was one of the best photographers of her time, who has been within top 10 of world’s top 100 photographers for last few years. Her real passion was in photography and learning it. Shahnaz mostly loved documentary photography, and loved to represent her country Bangladesh through her lens. With the highest number of Photo of the Month and Photo of the Day Awards, Shahnaz joined Light and Composition as Contributing Photographer from March 2013. Covering upheaval, conflict, places, people, and culture, she was one of the top most contributors from South Asia until 2015.
Shahnaz Parvin: It’s my pleasure too and special thanks to the millions of Light & Composition fans around the world who took their time to see my photographs and share them with their friends. Without you guys it would be impossible for me to become a winner.
Shahnaz: I am very delighted to find this out. You know, I am just a mediocre photographer and love to showcase my country Bangladesh with my lens. Obviously the pride to become one of the best photographs of the year 2012 goes to my country Bangladesh, as to me this photograph represents the life of the regular people of my country.
Shahnaz: At first I was speechless; I always loved to see the work of Nilla Palmer and Tina Primozic. Their photographs in the second and third positions are gorgeous photographs. Both of them are very talented photographers of two different times. I love how they frame their photographs. There is lot to learn from their work. I must thank them for presenting such beautiful photographs for the month of 28th.
Shahnaz: Here, the Bengal monsoon is our life giver, majestic in every sense, we were born to be with it, to get drenched in the rain. I always wanted to write on rain, but for that I am in need of rainy photographs. Then once I decided to go to Sonargaon, our ancient capital. There I found a group of little boys playing in the water. They were so adorable, making water their second home with their joyous activities. It made me spend almost the whole day with them. I was on a boat and they were swimming, or running by the banks, and then suddenly I saw them floating there like a lily flower. It was an amazing moment; I haven’t seen anything like that in my life, a perfect frame. I tried to balance myself on the boat and took the photograph as steady as possible.
L&C: That’s a wonderful story, our reader will love that. So how long have you been a photographer?
Shahnaz: You know I loved photography from my childhood, but didn’t have the financial ability to buy a camera until 2009, when I started to work in a PSI company. Back in those early days, when I was a student, whenever I saw camera in anyone’s hand, requested them to give it to me. They were either at family gatherings or some social event. I even tried to shoot with video cameras. Then at the end of 2009, I was finally able to buy my first DSLR but unfortunately shortly after that I was in need of money for my exam, and decided to sell my camera. I gave my camera to a guy to sell it but never received money from him, or my camera, so yes you can say I lost my camera that time. Though this is very rare in Bangladesh, they still happen. Whenever someone’s doing well, others try their best to harm that person out of envy. Then again you cannot blame them totally; this is the consequence of lack of education; the lack of a good mindset. And this is a day-to-day story of middle class families here, someone taking advantage of their situation. But you know; I am very grateful to Allah that my photography did not stop there. I had to wait 11 months to buy my next DSLR. So from the beginning of 2011, my life took a new turn with photography.
Shahnaz: Storytelling with raw emotion. I use a Canon Kissx4 with sigma 30mm f/1.4
L&C: What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera? If you had to choose one lens, which one would it be and why?
Shahnaz: Sometimes I could not able to go close to my subject. Those are the times I felt if I had a 24-70mm or 70-200mm lens, I could take the photographs as I want. I believe 35mm is best for life style or documentary photography.
Shahnaz: I always take my photographs in Camera Raw. And being a purist is coming from the heart. The emotion that I always try to convey with my work does not necessarily need any post processing. I always try my best to adjust with my surrounding, go very close to my subject and then take their photographs. Very often my subjects are hardworking people of this country, or the surrounding of where they live. They are my photographs, my happiness, my works from my country Bangladesh.
L&C: Thank you, Shahnaz, for sharing your feelings and experiences with us.