Synergyzer: As someone who hails from Pasni, Balochistan, and is now based in Lyari – Karachi, can you tell us about the journey of building a successful photography career while coming from an urban area with different opportunities and challenges?
Shehzad Mohammad: Hailing from Pasni, Balochistan, and presently residing in Lyari, Karachi, my journey has been markedly shaped by these varied locales. Each region presents unique landscapes and cultural wealth, accompanied by distinct opportunities and challenges for a budding photographer. Pasni, with its tranquil coastal vistas and vibrant local customs, provided an exceptional backdrop for refining my photographic skills. It instilled in me an appreciation for the nuances of natural light and the beauty inherent in everyday moments. However, it was in Lyari, amidst the lively urban landscape of Karachi, that I wholeheartedly embraced the dynamic realm of fashion photography.
Moving from a smaller town to a bustling city brought about new challenges, demanding increased adaptability, networking skills, and resourcefulness. With unwavering determination and a deep passion for my craft, I actively sought mentors, collaborated with local talents, and seized every opportunity to refine my skills. The journey from Pasni to Lyari has significantly shaped my approach to photography, teaching me to draw inspiration from diverse environments, discover beauty in unexpected places, and connect with individuals from various backgrounds. Each step in this odyssey has been a lesson in resilience, resourcefulness, and the ability to capture moments that go beyond geographical boundaries.
Synergyzer: Your social media showcases stunning images from your road trips. What fascinates you about traveling on road trips, and how does it influence your photography?
Shehzad Mohammad: In 2018, I realised the vast potential of social media as a platform for learning, sharing, and exploration. Juggling a full-time job, I faced the challenge of pursuing my passion for capturing the night’s enigmatic beauty. I devised a plan to spend weekends exploring Balochistan, a conveniently accessible sanctuary near Karachi. This strategic choice not only opened up new creative avenues but also highlighted the impact of building a community that wholeheartedly supports and amplifies my artistic pursuits.
Road trips enrich my photography with a tapestry of experiences and visuals, infusing a sense of adventure, reverence for the natural world, and a celebration of planetary diversity. This journey extends beyond physical miles, leaving a lasting imprint on both my art and soul. The people encountered along the way play a crucial role, shaping my perspective with their stories, customs, and landscapes. This human element adds depth and authenticity to my work, transcending mere aesthetics.
Synergyzer: Your astrophotography work is particularly striking. Could you explain how you managed to capture those breathtaking shots of the night sky and celestial bodies?
Shehzad Mohammad: Capturing the night sky and celestial bodies has been a profound and exhilarating journey for me. Situated in Pasni, Balochistan, provides a unique advantage, as it boasts some of the most pristine and mesmerizing dark skies in our country.
In Pasni, there’s a gem called Juddi, a place of serene beaches that, in my opinion, stand as some of the finest in Balochistan. It is here that I first trained my lens on the Milky Way, finding inspiration in the harmonious blend of sea and sky. However, my quest for awe-inspiring astrophotography led me to further explore the dark heavens of Balochistan. This brought me to the breathtaking landscapes of Hingol National Park, a location that holds a special place in my heart. Here, nature weaves together a tapestry of diverse terrains, from captivating beaches to some of the world’s most extraordinary rock formations.
My process involves immersing myself in the heart of these environments, often spending hours to find the perfect composition and timing. Utilizing specialized equipment and techniques, I aim to not only capture the celestial grandeur but also the nuanced interplay of light and shadow. Additionally, patience is key. Waiting for that precise moment when the elements align perfectly can take time, but the resulting image is always worth the effort. Ultimately, astrophotography, for me, is a dance between the earthly and the cosmic – a pursuit that enables me to translate the awe I feel for the night sky into visual poetry.
Synergyzer: In your opinion, what improvements can be made to promote safe and secure travel, considering that you often carry valuable photography equipment with you on your journeys?
Shehzad Mohammad: From my perspective, here’s some advice for fellow travellers: approach each journey with an open heart, embracing and respecting every culture, religion, and individual you encounter, as well as the natural world. If denied entry to a specific area, graciously accept it and depart with a genuine apology. If you find a captivating camping spot already occupied, seek permission from the residents and proceed only if granted, demonstrating sincere respect.
Travel light with only the essentials to avoid unnecessary stress. Based on my experiences, Balochistan is notably secure for travellers. During my journeys, I often explore with a single companion or go solo, proving that venturing into deserts, mountains, or jungles alone or with just one friend is entirely feasible. There’s no need to believe that a place is inherently unsafe.