Bangladeshi weddings are a vibrant tapestry of traditions and customs, each holding profound cultural significance. From the colorful Mehndi ceremonies to the solemnity of the Nikah, every moment captured tells a story beyond what meets the eye. A skilled photographer who has mastered the ability of capturing love and joy through the lens of a camera resides in the bustling city of Dhaka, amidst its lively streets and varied cultures, Ata Mohammad Adnan, an extremely talented individual and a passionate photographer whose work transcends cultural boundaries and captures the essence of timeless love stories. During a conversation with TINDS, Adnan shared with us his story of successfully creating a company and leaving their mark on the wedding industry of Bangladesh.
TINDS: Tell us a little about your childhood. Where were you born and where’d you grow up?
Adnan: I was born in Iran in 1989. My parents used to work there but I moved back to Bangladesh when I was just about 9 months old, so I have no memory of Iran. I grew up in Chittagong and lived there until my A-levels. Later I moved to China and lived there for 5 years to finish my MBBS. I got back in 2012 and lived in Chittagong till 2016 and went to the UK for a year to get done with my Master’s.
TINDS: Are you a practicing doctor now?
Adnan: I became a doctor in 2012 and from that time I used to stop practicing during November or December for a few months every year because there’d be a lot of weddings during that time. I did not work for a hospital but I had my own clinic. But there’s been this immense rush of weddings after COVID and it basically went on till last year so I could not manage my time to go back to practicing medicine. I have other plans though, both my parents are doctors and are directors of a hospital, which has a possibility of expansion. I do want to go back to being a doctor but maybe not in the next year or so.
TINDS: 3 words that describe you the best.
Adnan: Honest, Passionate & Hard-working.
TINDS: How did you get into photography? Tell us a little about the start.
Adnan: I got into photography back when I was in my university. I used to watch a lot of movies in my leisure time. I figured making a movie must be difficult but I was intrigued by the frames in them. So I thought maybe I could take photos which would be rather easier. My father used to take photos of us when we were kids with a camera he owned, but he never took photography seriously. I have so many pictures of my childhood that I think that kind of left an impact on me now that I think of it, coming 12 years into my photography career.
TINDS: Being a doctor is definitely not an easy job, how did you make time to pursue photography amidst all of this?
Adnan: I think when you’re really passionate about something, one puts in their heart and soul into it and makes up for just enough time needed. I am an introverted person in general and I have my own set of friends but I did not spend too much time around them like a normal person would. Photography was my own way of relaxing, you could say, spending time with myself.
TINDS: How did you end up starting Reminiscence Photography?
Adnan: Initially I had no interest in doing photography commercially. It started off with peers and friends inviting me to attend weddings and bring my camera to take photos. This happened once or twice before me and Ayman, one of the co-founders of Reminiscence Photography, said that there’s more to it. We used to notice the wedding photos in social media being very glamorous and of the same sort every time. There’s so many things happening during a wedding, it’s not just the bride and groom taking photos looking straight at the camera. We figured there’s so much more to a wedding shoot and we could do better. That’s how Reminiscence Photography started during the end of 2012.
TINDS: What would you be if not a photographer or a doctor?
Adnan: I’d probably be a businessman I think. I always used to be good at math in school but unfortunately nobody pointed out that being good with numbers could be a sign of being good in business as well.
TINDS: In the case of photography, do you think self learning is more helpful or is it wiser to seek help or learn from a professional?
Adnan: There are pros and cons to both I think. As of now, there are very good institutions like Paathshala where one can go get a formal training but it has not always been that way. Once you’ve reached a certain level of skill, workshops or training help you a lot. I think there can be no straight answer to the question, each has their perks. However, I wouldn’t suggest being under one particular mentor instead being at an institution would probably help better.
TINDS: What makes a picture a good one according to you?
Adnan: For me, the story behind the photo is what makes it perfect. At weddings, at this point of our career, we’re trying to capture moments for our clients instead of the audience. When we are at a wedding, we do not take photos to win awards, instead capture a moment which has value for the client and their family. A good photo should always be able to tell a story to the people in it and remind them of a moment to cherish.
TINDS: Coming this far, what would you say you’ve had to struggle with?
Adnan: I think the struggle was to set up a team and a business that was going against the trend that’s been in practice for so long. What I learned along the way is that if you really believe in what you’re doing, good consequences are not too far along the way. Sticking to what you believe in is very important. What has happened in the last five years is that the entire industry standard has reached new heights and became more professional.
TINDS: What would your advice be to young photographers?
Adnan: Hard work and dedication are very important. What keeps anybody going over the years is utter passion for the profession or art. Nothing comes easy and success definitely does not. One has to have genuine love for taking photos in order to keep at it for a lengthy period of time, learn and improve themselves.