In the heart of Bangladesh’s vibrant culture, where tradition and modernity blend seamlessly, a talented photographer is making waves by capturing some of life’s most precious moments. Meet M Aminur Rahman, a Bangladeshi photographer whose lens documents love stories and preserves the rich tapestry of Bangladeshi wedding traditions. During a conversation with TINDS, we delved into the life and work of this remarkable artist who has found a way to freeze time and emotions through photography.
TINDS: How did you start Checkmate Events?
Aminur: The idea of Checkmate events dates back to around 2010 or 2011 when my wife and I were both students at North South University. We wanted to do something of our own in the creative field. We enrolled in Pathshala and did our introductory courses and foundation from the institution. It was more challenging than it sounds to make a name for yourself in the creative industry, belonging to a family of doctors and advocates. I convinced my mother to get me a camera in 2011, and that’s when we started Checkmate Events. Social media was a relatively new concept back then, and we decided to provide wedding photo and videography services. My wife, Sadia, and I have different philosophies for our company and how we want to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the competition, and that’s what we share with our clients. We always try to tell a story and emphasize our clients letting us in on their journey. We try to incorporate new styles in how we shoot to ensure the audience is never bored.
TINDS: How did you make your space in an industry that wasn’t even a thing back in the days when you started?
Aminur: Our company’s beauty lies in the fact that we have always started everything from scratch. We went step by step, and each of our clients has been equally important to us, and we prioritize them because we are nothing without them. Every client and every event has been a learning opportunity, and each one helped us move forward. We have never compromised on quality, and our company has no history of ever working with freelancers, a common practice in the industry. We have always tried to work with the best people in the industry and bring them in-house, and it makes me glad to mention that we have around 40 amazingly talented people working with us now in Dhaka & Chittagong. We have always always made sure to give credit where credit is due because our team is what makes us whole.
TINDS: Do you provide any other services apart from wedding photo & videography?
Aminur: Yes, and here comes the exciting part of the story. It is not easy to suddenly shift to covering corporate events from a wedding. One random night, I was scrolling through Facebook. I came across a post on the group Desperately Seeking Dhaka (DSD), where a known junior from my University posted he was looking for people who covered events and wanted to do a write-up on them. I reached out to him, found that he was working for Startup Dhaka, and wrote an article about us. Later, he introduced us to Mustafizur Khan, a renowned person in the startup world, and set up a meeting where he was eager to see our prior work on corporate events that we covered. We could only show samples of Kalabagan Puja Mondop that we covered that year, and he questioned us how we compared that to a corporate event. We assured him that if we did our best job in an uncontrolled environment, we could pull off a controlled corporate event. Grameenphone Innovation Extreme was our first covered corporate event. Later, Sadia and her team worked with Mr. Mustafiz for a long time and covered several events. We worked with Grameenphone Accelerator till 2018, we worked with Bkash for their Fintech Campus campaign, worked with British Council, Microsoft, and the most significant corporate client we’ve had, I think is we were the official photographers of Dhaka International Folk Fest in 2018, which was rigorous.
TINDS: What would you be if not a photographer?
Aminur: I would have opted for a teaching profession if I were not in the creative field. I have studied Marketing and worked in that sector, too; when I left my job I resigned as an Assistant Manager in the Marketing team of a Financial Agency.
TINDS: Tell us a little about the Transcendence Workshop. What is the workshop about?
Aminur: We’ve recently started our Transcendence Workshop, partnering with Digifix. Here, we’re working on a curriculum that will promote creative entrepreneurship. We want to inspire young souls and show them how to put their talent to good use. This is the era of content, and Gen Z is very much into art and culture.
TINDS: As we know, you and your wife, Sadia, are a power couple. Where did you both meet?
Aminur: We met at North South University and became friends during our first class on the first day, almost entirely out of the blue. We became excellent friends and realized along the way that we were very compatible with each other and wanted to do something of our own, and that’s where the journey started.
TINDS: Coming this far, 12 years into your career, what would you say you’ve had to struggle with the most?
Aminur: Belonging to a professional family in South Asia, especially Bangladesh, we had to prove every moment that what we did would give us a good return. We had to stand out in front of people who were highly respected in their significant fields, and this has been an alternative career for both me and my wife. We have had other jobs before we went into this full-time, and I am glad I never had to ask for assistance to make this work. We have come a long way, and we have created employment opportunities along the way in our Dhaka & Chittagong offices. Proving everyone wrong was a difficult task, and we had to work hard for it. Secondly, our business has always been recession-proof, but when COVID hit in 2020, that was a reality check. Also, the firm does not fall under a specific category in our country. Although the wedding industry is a multi-million dollar industry, it falls under no particular structure and is not a recognized business. It’s relatively easy to start but difficult to sustain & maintain. Consistency is key.
TINDS: What would your advice be to young photographers?
Aminur: I think one should try it if they have ample family support. We could’ve made it this far because our parents supported us in achieving what we wanted. Everyone should try and give their passion a go. It doesn’t matter if they succeed or fail; at least they’ll know that they tried to pursue what they wanted, and that’s important. The creative industry has a massive market and so many services that need to be catered to. One needs to try first to figure out what they’re good at. Also, something that is very important is it is okay to be inspired but never copy. It is essential to make an image of your own that is solely yours and which differentiates you from the rest of the herd. Our only currency is our time, and we should make good use of it. Very few people try, and it is essential when one does it, they do it effectively and efficiently.
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