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This book is dedicated to Jyoti and Mannat - the two loves of my life.
My sincere thanks to Jamal, Juise, Rokeya, Smita, Ujwala & Zeba for making this
Special thanks to Ujwala for all the support she has given me on this SoFoBoMo project right from day-one
to day-last. The back-cover photograph and book cover design are by Ujwala.
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It’s been a bit like a roller-coaster ride, this SoFoBoMo [Solo Photo Book Month] project, fast, exciting and enjoyable! The idea
of selecting a specific subject, determining a photographic approach, creating a schedule that would fit exactly a month or less
[and sticking to it!] and then going out and doing it was appealing to me. Announcing my intent to participate in SoFoBoMo to
the others in the group, meant there was no turning back. Intent to participate was tantamount to intention to complete. I liked
the challenge it offered. Not to prove anything to anyone else, but to participate in a project and process that would give me
insights into an area of photography I'd never attempted before - to make images specifically for producing a book.

I considered several themes. The ones based on subjects in nature were "easy". I then considered doing a series of photographs
based on reflections and silhouettes, interesting but not enough! Street photography crossed my mind, soon dispelled because
candid photography does not interest me much. Faces: that is what I wanted to do - but who and how many, and what would
be the common thread between a series of faces? I like the intimacy and direct engagement of portrait photography - not the
set-up studio style portrait photography - but direct one-to-one. So here was my opportunity - I'd always wanted to photograph
artists, or craftsmen, or sculptors or weavers at work. I called up my artist friends and explained what SoFoBoMo was all about
and what I was planning to do. Each one of them was happy to participate, and all I had to do next was setup schedules for the
photo sessions. Cake walk!

The idea was to photograph these artists at work, with the least amount of "set-up", and to create a sort of working portfolio
section of each. Some people are less conscious of the camera than others, so I had to use a different approach for each. I tried
to capture the persona and the essence of the personality rather than make pretty photos. I hope that I was able to convey this,
and some of the intimacy, that develops between the photographer and the "photographee!".

A bit of technical background -

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All images were made with a Nikon D2Hs DSLR and 3 lenses: mainly a Nikkor 17-55mm DX, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and a
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8. Some shots were done with the Nikkor 18-200 VR, Sigma 10-20mm and a LensBaby - but just a few. My
initial plan was to try use just one prime lens - either the 50mm or the 85mm - or at most to use just these two primes. A nice
thought, and very noble, but very limiting! I used artificial light for many shots: two and on occasion three Nikon SB800
strobes off-camera. All images were shot in RAW format and processed in Adobe Photoshop CS3 to convert them to
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TIFF/TIF files. Minimal adjustments were made during the processing stage, which also meant that I scrapped and culled
many [good!] images that might have required any extensive post-processing beyond 10 minutes per image. I am not adverse to
extensive post-processing for images that I know will make a nice end-product, but there were time constraints involved here
and I wanted to keep a level of similarity between all images in this book.

I do hope you enjoy this book.

Anil Advani
WHAT is SoFoBoMo all about anyway?

I quote from Paul Butzi, the person who started it all:

It's called SoFoBoMo because it's fun to say, and because it's easier to type than NaSoPhoBoMo. I dropped the Na part because it's clear at the outset that it's
involving photographers from around the world, and thus it really ought to be InSoFoBoMo, but again that's just too much. SoFoBoMo is just right.

When is Solo Photo Book Month?

Because we're just getting started, we're doing a fuzzy month. You should pick a 31 day period that starts no earlier than April 1, 2008, and ends no later than
May 31, 2008. In other words, if you start on April 1, your month ends on May 1. If you start on April 15, your month ends on May 15. Having everyone do
it exactly at the same time would be nice, because it would allow for maximum sense of camaraderie, but everyone has different schedules and this fuzzy month
start/finish plan buys some of that without the inflexibility.

How many photos do I need for the book?

35 - large enough that it can't be flung together from a single afternoon's photography, short enough to be doable. I understand that for some folks 35 is big number.
For the folks who have been running photo-a-day photoblogs, it's child's play. 35 is a reasonable compromise. It's the number of photos in the book «The Gift of
the Commonplace», a book of photographs by Ruth Bernhard. If it's long enough for Ruth Bernhard, it's long enough for us. UPDATE: You can have more that
35 photos if you like.

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painter ~ puppet maker ~ paper-folding mask maker.
Juise has a special and unique technique of folding paper to create three dimentional masks.
This tecnique was developed by Juise after studying old traditional mask making methods
from the region. He completed his post-graduate studies in Fine Arts from Dhaka
University and went on to assist a famous Bangladeshi pupet maker. His puppets and masks
have delighted children and adults alike. One sees many Stage-sets, TV and Theatre sets
produced by Juise, and each one of these is a unique piece. The Bangldeshi version of
Sesame Street, called "Sisimpur", and Juise was the creator of the sets for this TV series. His
repertoire includes mask making, paper folding, painting, puppets, muppets and stage-sets.
His work often reflects his strong political and social statements.
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Saidul Haque Juise
I wanted to get a portrait of
Juise against one of his paper
and sand sculptures which
were hanging in that room.
Juise could not keep a
straight face and we had a lot
of laughs trying to set-up the
lights and get him into
position. He kept looking
«skyward» and joked about
how artists are supposed to
have a vacant far-away look
in their eyes for portraits.
LOL! I gave up for the day.
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Saidul Haque Juise
Juise was making the props
for a play by Dhaka Stage
called "Little Shop Of
Horrors". Some were small
and this one was massive.

The separate articulated arms

with each finger joint
movable separately was lying
in the shed. Amazing
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Saidul Haque Juise
Detail from one of Juise's massive paper-folded masks.
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Saidul Haque Juise
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Printed and painted fabric cut-and-glued.

Saidul Haque Juise
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Saidul Haque Juise
Layers of fabric, partly painted, cut-out and ripped to create the bird.
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Work in progress.

Saidul Haque Juise

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Saidul Haque Juise
Juise's workbench. We had a power outage [one of several that we have every day], and I had just stepped into his
small «office» to setup 2 SB800s to take some photos of the workspace. It went completely dark in there when the
power went out, I was able to focus on something, cant remember what, and took 4 frames in quick succession.
This one was fairly in-focus.

Juise working on a set of birds - these sculptures are made from paper mostly. He has a unique and special
technique that he has developed. All his paper masks are folded-paper even though these might appear to be
papier-mâché to the uninitiated.
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Saidul Haque Juise

Painter and Art-teacher.
Zeba, as she is fondly called by all friends, has a quiet demenour but paints with great
authority and her works convey powerful social messages. The paintings shown in this book
are painted on ply-wood, which is layered to create a 3 dimentional surface - the painting
extends from layer to layer and this adds to the uniquness of her work. Zeba and her
husband Juise run a art school at their home studio for children from the age of 3 as well as
for adults. Their sprawling garden also reflects their creativity, with plant holders logs of
wood carved and planted with exotic plants... their studio extends into all living spaces in
their home.
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Fareha Zeba
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Fareha Zeba
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Fareha Zeba
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Fareha Zeba

Smita Srivastava.
Smita paints portraits and landscapes. Her colors are bold and vivid.
I spent a couple of hours at Smita's studio, talking about her new paintings while she
was working on a few consecutive canvases with acrylic paint. The most interesting,
was how she works some of her paintings up-side-down and gets all the background
effects she wants... then flip them over right-side-up and work the
details....Apparently, working with the painting «backward» she looks at her
compositions completely differently, and sees things unlike me as a bystander did.
Only when she started to point out what was going to happen next, and what the
smaller details were did I see it «her way».
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Smita Srivastava
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Smita contemplating. This photograph was taken from in front of the easel and Smita is reflected in a tall mirror
that was in the back of the room.
Smita Srivastava
The paining in progress - turned straight side up now and I begin to see what Smita was getting at.
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Smita Srivastava
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Smita Srivastava
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Smita Srivastava

Ujwala Prabhu.
Ujwala devotes most of her time to painting. A prolific artist. Painter of portraits and
"people going about their lives". Creates portraits that convey more that what meets the eye.
She paints with a wide variety of media and paints on almost any surface that is paintable or
available to her the moment a creative urge come on! One of the most active bloggers I
know. She has several art blogs and I've lost count of how many! Ujwala is one of the
easiest persons to trace on the internet, just search "Ujwala + Art" and you'd get 100's of
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Ujwala Prabhu
Evening on the balcony or her lovely home facing Baridhara Lake, Dhaka.
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Ujwala Prabhu
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Ujwala Prabhu
"Ekla Cholo Re"
When there is a heavy load to bear, sometimes you need to walk alone.
Inspired and named after Tagore’s beautiful, nationalistic poem, “Ekla cholo re”. It is an exhortation to
follow your heart, alone if necessary.
- Ujwala
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"Paan khaye" from her Ashulia series.

"Nothing comes from Nothing"
Nothing ever could…. or so I firmly
believed. Actually, that is a bit of an
exaggeration. I felt that I needed to
learn a lot more before I could just sit
in front of a blank canvas and start to
paint. I was given two challenges by my
friend Sangeeta during my recent visit.
One was to make an abstract piece and
the second was to paint something
without a reference. This started out as
my attempt at making an abstract piece
and then before I knew it it had turned
into a face or at least what I thought
resembled a face . Acrylic on canvas.

Ujwala Prabhu
Made the background first with a
largish bristle brush and the face with a
palette knife. Ujwala.
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"Stop! or else" from her Dhaka street series.

Ujwala Prabhu

Rokeya Sultana.
Another very well known painter from Bangladesh, both here and internationally. She paints
with various mediums, acrylic and tempra figure high on the list. Her work is Bold and
Brilliant. Her colors are unique because she creates her own by mixing various natural
pigments and commercially prepared paints. Rokeya's unique colors and hues and the
blending of abstract design with reality are what makes her work so striking and special.
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Rokeya Sultana
Rokeya showing me her
sketches. Most of these are
done while she travels.
Portraits done of interesting
faces, and then she gets the
person to write their name
on the sketch.
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Rokeya working on a large
canvas, using her very unique
techniquies. The pool of
water on the painting is how
she creates those wonderful
textures and details in her
work. Pigments, tempra,
acrylic color are added to
pools of water and then she
will use various methods to
make the pool dry up either
slowly or quite fast
depending on what effect
she wants. Absolutly
amazing. She can create any

Rokeya Sultana
shape and texture she wants
and has complete control
over the outcome. Nothing is
"by chance".
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Rokeya Sultana
Showing me how and why.
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Rokeya Sultana
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Rokeya Sultana
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Rokeya Sultana

Jamal Ahmed.
Painter. And Professor of Art at the College of Art, Dhaka University.
Jamal Ahmed is a well known Bangladeshi painter, both in his home country and
internationally. Jamal is also a Professor at the College of Fine Arts at Dhaka University. He
is easy-going and soft-spoken, which belies his high-energy style of working and the power
of his work.
I was amazed at the speed at which he sketches, and most of all that he hardly looks at the
paper or canvas while sketching. His eyes are on his subject and his hand is working on the a stylus being fed information from a sensor or lens Eye - Brain - Hand.
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Jamal Ahmed
An absolutely fantastic day! I
had thought we'd do a fast
paced one or an hour and
half session at his studio. It
turned out that Jamal sets his
own pace and it will take its
course. Not that he is «slow
paced» - he is a highly
energetic person. So we
started out by talking about
various stuff... several of his
friends drop-by..... We then
head out to the University of
Fine Arts. Jamal is a Art
Professor there. Met his
students. Photographed
them at work. We go back to
Jamal's studio and then we sit
down to a home-cooked
lavish Bengali meal.
Delicious! Jamal tells me he
has a special treat for me.
One of Jamal's regular model
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who was at the Art College is

going to be coming back to
his studio - Jamal is going to
sketch him while I
photograph the proceedings.
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Jamal Ahmed
Pagla Baba is seated on the floor and is asked to place his head in the crook of his arms. And then Jamal goes to
work - full of energy, it looks like a movie being run at double speed!
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Jamal Ahmed
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Jamal Ahmed
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Jamal Ahmed
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Jamal Ahmed
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Jamal Ahmed
All images contained in this book are copyright © Anil Advani. All material contained herewith may not be copied,
altered or distributed in anyway without the written permission of Anil Advani.

Published by Anil Advani

15th May 2008
Dhaka, Bangladesh

All Rights Reserved

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Dedication and thanks 2

Introduction 4
What is SoFoBoMo? 5
Saidul Haque Juise 6
Fareha Zeba 24
Smita Srivastava 32
Ujwala Prabhu 42
Rokeya Sultana 52
Jamal Ahmed 64

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This book is the result of stumbling upon Paul Butzi's idea for SoFoBoMo in January this year - or
Solo Photo Book Month - amateur and professional photographers would choose a one month
period starting no earlier than 1st April 2008 and ending no later than 31st May 2008, photograph
no less than 35 images, and create a book. The choice of subject matter and medium was left open
to the photographer. The first part was relatively easy – taking photographs. The second part of
organizing these and putting them in a sequence so that you, the viewer, would get a sense of what I
intend to convey took a while but I got there. I say, “viewer” and not “reader” because this book is
to be published online and a printed copy is unlikely. At least not for this project. Having finished
this exciting project, I'd now like to make a few more . Subject matter for a photo books are
abundant in Bangladesh. Rivers; Boats; Boat-gypsies, Tribal communities, Traditional weavers;
Historical buildings, temples, mosques and havalis; this list goes on…Coming back to the third
part of producing this book: Writing the text. Now, this turned out to be the hardest part of all!
And, finally the technical issues involved in making of such a book – a learning experience with a
steep but quick curve.

I've always wanted to photograph my artist friends, especially while they are at work doing what
they do. For this SoFoBoMo project I called on four Bangladeshi artists and two Indian artists
who are currently living in Dhaka, and was able to sweet-talk them in participating: Fareha Zeba -
Saidul Haque Juise - Smita Srivastava - Ujwala Prabhu - Rokeya Sultana - Jamal Ahmed.

Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did the process of making it!