Emmanuel Guddu is a passionate photographer from Sindh, Pakistan who captures the everyday life of the rural people of the the province. Viewing his instagram (@guddupakistani), Anas Saleem (Founder, Everyday Pakistan) got in touch with him in order to promote his work. Below is the conversation between the two:
Anas: Hi Guddu! Can you send me photo via email?
Guddu: Ok. Actually ghar pe net nahi he. Kisi dost k ghar ja ker computer sy send karunga (Actually, I don’t have Internet at home. Will go some friend’s house and will send you).
Guddu: Gareeb photographer hun, apna camera tak nahi. zyada educated nahi hun. 18 hazaar kamata hun jis mein family hai, 4 kids hain. (I am poor photographer, don’t have my own camera. Not much educated too, earns Rs.18000 ($150 approx.) monthly in which i feed my family including 4 kids).
Anas: Oh! I would love to tell your story to our followers so we can help you any way.
Guddu: Thanks Sir ji. Yahan mere jese ki qadar nahi hai. Mene ek NGO ky liye photography ki thi, agreement bi kia tha. Kam unko boht pasand aya magr 2 months se abhi tak payment bhi nahi ki. Roz koi bahana maar dety hain. Logon ko Guddu Pakistani pasand hai lekin wo meri story ni janty. (Thanks Sir. People don’t value photographers like me. I did photography for one NGO, did agreement too. They loved my work but 2 months have passed they didn’t paid me. Every other day they tell me an excuse. People love and like Guddu Pakistani but they don’t know my story).
This conversation touched Saleem’s heart and Guddu became the first photographer whose story Everyday Pakistan covers under their series “In Conversation”.
Team Everyday Pakistan talked to Emmanuel Guddu to know more about about him.
Everyday Pakistan: Guddu tell us more about yourself? What inspired you to start photography?
Guddu: I belong to Kachhi Kohli Hindu Community of Rural Sindh, Pakistan. I am a born Catholic Christian and gained my passion for photography through NatGeo magazines (however the NatGeo discriminatory does not allow Guddu to present his work before that audience) that i got from the Christian missionaries. I started photography at a very small age through my Uncle’s analog camera. At that time, I did not know that this would later become my passion and hobby. My wife and Mama calls me Awara(wanderlust) because for photography I move to many places. So, I call myself ‘Awara Photographer’.(Wanderlust Photographer).
EP: You have been through economic instability but still kept the passion for photography. What made you motivated and positive?
Guddu: I think photography is injected in my blood so I can’t live without traveling and searching for something new to show this world. People love to see something new and unique each day that keeps me motivated on this track positively.
EP: Photography is not an explored career in Pakistan. What difficulties have you faced while being in this field?
Guddu: I don’t get paid for my passion so facing some kind of financial crisis for family, because spending some money on my bike to discover new for my audience leaves nothing with me. Every weekend I go out for new clicks and details. Sometimes I think that I have to leave this passion because of no money and career.
EP: People don’t tend to give credits for photographs and use without permission. What is your view about this? Have you experienced anything of this sort?
Guddu: This is a major problem for nowadays. Many people have used my photography without credits and some people removed my watermarks by using Adobe Photoshop etc. I think they don’t know how a photographer has spent his/her time, money and energy to take that click to show to the people. That’s why they don’t care about photographers they just grab and publish or print photo without credits, because they have no feelings or they never walked on the photography path.
EP: You have concentrated on representing the lifestyle of minorities from Sindh. Why?
Guddu: These people have a very rich culture/colors/traditions. They always welcome and allow me to take their photos. However, there are very few people who are highlighting them. So, I do it. And yes! I want to show that Sindh is the place where all live together in peace. Sindh is where large number of the Hindu community who migrated from India are living in love, peace and harmony. This credit goes to my Muslim brothers and sisters who warmly welcomed them.
EP: What do you think of a project like Everyday Pakistan?
Guddu: Everyday Pakistan Project is a nice platform where photographers can come on front from the back seat and can show their contribution for this country to the world which has never been seen before or never highlighted before. I am really thankful to Everyday Pakistan for highlighting my story.
EP: How do you think the filed of photography and photojournalism can be explored in Pakistan?
Guddu: I believe all who are showing a positive picture of Pakistan other than their everyday selfies are doing a great job. It is great that the youth is turning towards photography and photojournalism. There are some who are volunteering to promote the positive image of Pakistan. Photographers should start some free short workshops in villages/towns for youth and teach them basics of photography.
EP: What message would you like to deliver to the readers?
Guddu: It’s up to me how I show my land my country to the world, So I always show positive and beautiful Pakistan. People across the world rely on the photos and videos we Pakistanis produce. So, it depends on us what we want to show others about your homeland. So Think Positive! Be Positive! and Act Positive! Pakistan Zindabad.
Guddu is a patriotic Pakistani citizen who believes that it is his duty to represent the true culture of the country. He says that he is concentrating on his contribution for the country than relying on the widespread biased image. Despite all the social and economic difficulties, Guddu is working for his passion in order to promote a positive image of the country. His optimism can be inspirational to many young and energetic photographers of the country.
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