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Arif Mahmood

Born in 1960 in Karachi (Pakistan)
Lives and works in Karachi (Pakistan)

Arif Mahmood is a photographer specialising in photojournalism, portraiture and fashion. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Otterbein College, Ohio. Upon his return to Karachi in 1985, he took up photography, and within five years he was contributing editorial work for all major Pakistani publications. International publications that have published his work include: Newsweek; Khaleej Times; Gulf News; Arabian Woman Magazine; and Private Magazine. Arif has 27 publications to his credit, and had had 14 solo exhibitions in Pakistan and abroad, to date. He has also participated in 56 group shows nationally and internationally, and his photographs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His art practice is very much based in his professional interests, combining aspects of photojournalism, fashion photography and portraiture in his work.

His photographic collage, Balochistan Earthquake 2008, comprises of 15 black and white photos taken whilst covering the Ziarat Earthquake in early November 2008. Rather than capturing the devastation and destruction that ensued following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, Arif has focused on the human aspect of the natural disaster. Subverting the viewer’s expectations, his beautifully shot monochrome photographs do not portray images of human distress and pain, rather, they depict the pure resilience of human spirit in the face of such adversity. The figures in his photographs act as metonyms for the greater plight of all those affected and displaced by the earthquake, yet the viewer comes away from the work with a distinct sense of optimism, due to the positivity and fortitude that radiates from the various players on Arif’s photographic stage.

Balochistan Earthquake 2008, 2008.
Photographs, black and white film, handmade silver gelatin prints
Collage of 15 photographs, 290 x 244 cm.
Courtesy the artist