Street Scenes from Islamabad

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. Contrary to some negative media depictions, it is a clean, beautiful and well-planned city nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. I was born and raised there. I left at the age of 20, when I immigrated to the US. Like all displaced people, my place of birth has a special place in my heart and I try to visit as often as I can.

The motivation to return has only gone up since I’ve picked up photography, because of the sheer magnitude of photo opportunities it offers. And while the landscape is beautiful, it is the pulsing-with-life, never-a-dull-moment street life that always attracts me and my camera. In this particular series, I feature – among other things – images of the some of the low-wage workers who toil behind the scenes to power the engine of this bureaucratic and diplomatic regional hub.

Caption: A young laborer takes a break from the day's work, napping on a cart parked outside the walls of a mansion.  The rear end of an SUV parked inside is a barely visible reminder of the stark income inequality that plagues that part of the world.

Caption: A young laborer takes a break from the day’s work, napping on a cart parked outside the walls of a mansion.
The rear end of an SUV parked inside is a barely visible reminder of the stark income inequality that plagues that part of the world.
NIKON D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/800, f/1.8

Young boys who work as waiters at a local chai khana (tea house) that services the working class.

Young boys who work as waiters at a local chai khana (tea house) that services the working class.
NIKON D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 250, 1/125, f/1.8

Caption: Waiter at an upscale chai khana (tea house) that services the capital's elites (notice stark contrast with the previous image)

Caption: Waiter at an upscale chai khana (tea house) that services the capital’s elites (notice stark contrast with the previous image)
NIKON D610 + 14mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, ISO 2000, 1/30, f/2.8

knifesharpnertoolbox

A culture of cooking at home means lots of knives and lots of sharpening – and no one does it like the pros. Do not be fooled by this man’s stoic expression, he was very friendly and posed readily for this shot.
NIKON D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/400, f/1.8

According to Wikipedia: Saidpur is a Mughal-era village on the slopes of the Margalla Hills and located off the Hill Road to the east of Daman-e-Koh in Islamabad. The village has the footprints of various civilizations, including Gandhara, Greek, Buddhist, Mughal, Ashoka and the colonial periods, and now serving as a popular recreational spot for both local and foreign visitors.

The narrow winding streets and alleys of Saidpur village are teeming with interesting scenes. The locals are friendly and did not appear to mind me & my big hulking dSLR:

naan

Tanduri naan (flatbread cooked in a clay oven) is to Pakistan what the baguette is to France. This image was taken at a naan shop in Saidpur village.
NIKON D610 + 35mm f/1.8 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 1/50, f/1.8

Tailor busy at work. According to the sign at the entrance, the shop also sells gas cylinders (to supplement the intermittent city's intermittent supply).

Tailor busy at work. According to the sign at the entrance, the shop also sells gas cylinders (to supplement the intermittent city’s intermittent supply).
NIKON D610 + 35mm f/1.8 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 1/50, f/1.8

Nothing like heated political discussions to while away long days at the shop

Nothing like heated political discussions to while away long days at the shop
NIKON D610 + 35mm f/1.8 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 1/640, f/1.8

Rawal Lake is a man-made reservoir that supplies water to the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Now part of the Lake View Park, it attracts visitors from neighboring areas, particularly the Khyber-pakhtun-khwa (Khyner, land of the Pakhtuns/Pashtuns) province. Lake side picnics, live music and boat rides are the favored activities.

Boats for hire

Boats for hire
NIKON D610 + 14mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, ISO 100, 1/15, f/11.0

Life jackets optional

Life jackets optional
NIKON D610 + 14mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, ISO 100, 1/15, f/11.0

Aabpara bazaar is another bustling market with narrow alleys and streets that offer a non-stop supply of photo ops.

Most offices require formal attire and a quick stop at the cobbler's provides the requisite shoe shine.

Most offices require formal attire and a quick stop at the cobbler’s provides the requisite shoe shine.
NIKON D610 + 35mm f/1.8 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 1/320, f/1.8

Most offices require formal attire and a quick stop at the cobbler's provides the requisite shoe shine.

NIKON D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/1600, f/1.8

Everyone needs sunglasses (except for the person selling them)

Everyone needs sunglasses (except for the person selling them)
NIKON D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/2000, f/1.8

Morning tea

Nikon D610 + 85mm f/1.8 @ 85mm, ISO 100, 1/160, f/1.8

This young man was helping his father set up shop

This young man was helping his father set up shop
NIKON D610 + 35mm f/1.8 @ 35mm, ISO 100, 1/2500, f/1.8

Shah Faisal Masjid (King Faisal Mosque) is Islamabad’s most recognizable landmark and a huge draw for tourists. It is also one of the most photographed sites with most compositions being close-ups sans crowds preferably with a flaming sunset in the backdrop. There was no such possibility when I went so I decided to go showcase a more typical mid-day scene, tourists and all.

Masjid Faisal - Faisal Mosque

Masjid Faisal
NIKON D610 + 14mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, ISO 100, 1/25, f/11.0

Pakistan has much to offer the world but tragically, due to political instability, it is yet to fulfill even a fraction of this potential. The local people are hard-working, hospitable and friendly. I hope through this series I have
been able to provide a minuscule window into that part of the world.


This guest post was contributed by Talha Najeeb. Please visit his website to see more of his work.

The post Street Scenes from Islamabad appeared first on Photography Life.

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