Seeing Bangladesh through smartphone lens

By Farhana Satu

Be it the lush green mountains, the mighty waterfalls, the pristine sea beaches or the breathtaking beauty of ethnic lifestyle – the unwavering beauty and diversity of Bangladesh never fails to amaze us. As a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Dhaka, I am currently working to tell the untold stories of life and livelihood. Hence, when I got the chance to work with OPPO, to explore and promote the beauty of Bangladesh and narrate stories through my photography in a way they had never been told, I quickly took up the opportunity. ‘Beautiful Bangladesh, in Portrait’, is a magnificent campaign that gave me a chance to spend the last few days roaming around different parts of Bangladesh, exploring it in depths one does not normally do, to capture a series of stories that reflect true tales which are otherwise overlooked in frames.

While on this surreal journey, I realized that the beauty of Bangladesh is not only limited to its natural attributes. As a developing nation, our beloved country has a lot more going on, with people across regions contributing in the most beautiful ways possible. The lives and livelihood of people across the country tell different stories of life; stories that inspire, stories that deserve attention.

Home to the “The Shatgombuj Mosque”, the Southern part of Bangladesh represents coastal charm, natural beauty and diverse landscapes where various ethnic groups reside. This is where nature and livelihood intersect; as life in a southern village in Bangladesh is typically centered around agriculture and fishing. Traveling from one area to another is mostly done by boat, and bullock carts are used to row the fields.

Next, I witnessed incredible stories among the tribal people hailing from the Chattogram Hill Tracts. The fascinating life of these people contain elements of primitiveness that are strongly displayed through their rites, rituals and daily living. I was able to perfectly capture tit-bits from this experience, thanks to the incredible 100MP Portrait camera of OPPO Reno8 T. The families here are mostly matriarchal, with women as the main productive force. As self-reliant, peace-loving and superbly hospitable people, they live a humble and happy life. And not to mention, their handicrafts are simply one of a kind.

A segment of people who are crucially contributing to the development of our country are the builders, taking me to capture the intricacies of their lives. Brickfield workers toil for eight to ten hours daily, playing a pivotal role in modernization. From the brick kilns I visited, the story of Ratna intrigued me. She studies at a night school and works in the brick field during the day to contribute to her family. And this is not all – such stories are spread across all brick fields in Bangladesh!

As Bengalis, we love fish – and that brings me to the fish heaven of Bangladesh. “Shutki Mach” or dried fish is loved by many as one of the most distinct delicacies. The business centering dried fish has a huge demand in the domestic market, creating vast employment opportunities for hundreds of families.

“There is a bright prospect of producing a huge number of dried fish in the Nazirar Tek area, which can make a good number of poor villager’s solvent”, said Munira Begum of Nazirar tek area in Cox Bazar. She also said it is their ancestral profession and some six families are still involved with the profession in Nazirar tek, Cox Bazar.

“As the price of dried fish has increased in recent years, the profit from this business has also soared”, said forty-four-year-old Amena Bibi, involved with this ancestral profession since childhood.
Bangladesh is also home to the largest mangrove forest in the world – Sundarban Reserve Forest (SRF). The Sundarbans provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat. Sundarbans supports diverse biological resources including a large number of commercially important fish, numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibian.

After exploring the tranquil beauty of Sundarbans, I had the opportunity to have a glimpse of a wonderful flower kingdom in Jashore district’s Gadkhali area and delve deeper into what nature has to offer to its inhabitants. The fields are colored with marigolds, cosmos, daisy gypsies, roses, gladioli, tuberoses, gerbera, dahlias and chrysanthemums. Around forty two local and foreign varieties of flowers are grown commercially in six hundred twenty five hectares area across thirty five villages of Jashore. Capturing the beauty of these flowers using the 40x Microlens on OPPO Reno8 T enabled me to look at it from an entirely different perspective. I could clearly notice the texture on the petals and the tiny droplets of water, which made it all even more exciting! Exploring the splendor of this place with the help of OPPO Reno8 T was truly a unique experience.

OPPO Gallery is a phenomenal campaign that has enabled and empowered me to capture the true beauty of Bangladesh and the rich diversity of its people through the lens of OPPO Reno8 T. The warmth & love from the people I met made the journey immensely joyful and exciting. Images taken during this journey are not just mere pictures, but are slices of life that were brought to reality through the magnificent camera of OPPO Reno8 T, where each picture showcases the story of ‘Beautiful Bangladesh, in Portrait’.

Farhana Satu is a freelance photographer, who currently works to tell the untold stories of life and livelihood. Hence, when she got the chance to work with OPPO, to explore and promote the beauty of Bangladesh and narrate stories through her photography in a way they had never been told, She quickly took up the opportunity.


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