The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: A Story of Normalcy, or of Displacement?

Posted on February 20, 2011
Filed Under >Nadeem Omar, Economy & Development, History, Society
11 Comments
Total Views: 88529

Nadeem Omar

As we think of floods and of displacement once again, this photographs from F.E. Chaudhry of the 1950 flood depicts Chacha‘s ability to turn a news story into a human story.

1951 1950 floods in Pakistan

A narrative photograph of the Punjabi victims of the 1950 flood in the wake of which nearly three thousands perished. Their villages and homes submerged, a family has taken refuge in a railway bogey, which serves as a kitchen as well as shelter from the blistering heat.

Each individual in the picture, though part of a single family with elderly heads of household and their children, is lost in his or her own personal world. With little interaction among them, they appear to be privately counting and mourning their losses.

The young man while preparing food on the railway wagon apprehensively looks at the sky as if searching for the clouds that drowned their village and their lives. Except for the elderly woman who looks into the camera, the other younger women shield themselves from the prying eyes of the cameraman.

The story telling quality of the photograph lies precisely in the fact that each individual character in the photograph is revealing his or her own story without compromising on the overall composition or the melancholic effect of the image.

Click here for the F.E. Choudhry Gallery at ATP.

This post was first published on ATP on May 14, 2008.

11 responses to “The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: A Story of Normalcy, or of Displacement?”

  1. ShahidnUSA says:

    I have a suggestion to ATP.
    People who post and comment to this website have excellent ideas. To make sure that these ideas pass on correctly to the ordinary Pakistanis, if somehow ATP could Google translate the post in Urdu right below.

  2. Azra says:

    Seeing this it strikes me that someone should have a photojournalism museum of Pakistan’s history. So much has happened and needs to be recorded and this would be a great way to do that.

  3. Mohammed Amjad says:

    What a great picture. And now you put it I note how it is very human. And the normalcy in displacement contrast is strong. Do we know what happened to the displaced of that flood.

  4. Watan Aziz says:

    Yes, not much for the poor has changed.

    However, what is has changed is the pure gutter photo journalism of the present day.

    F.E. Chaudhry indeed turns a news story into a human story and illustrates though the eyes of the lens.

    But now, these gutter journalists prey of children and use them as trophies for the camera. Without regard for their dignity and their welfare. Without permission of their parents. And even if with permission, morally a parent cannot give a photographer permission to take a photograph that degrades their child. Source: adevelopingstory dot org

    And I feel sad about those sites who publish them. Sad.

    If we do not look after our own children, who will?

    If we do not care about our children, who will care for us?

  5. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    @ Nadeem Omar,

    Btw, the chap sitting just near the door, with
    a danda koondi, what is he upto ??
    Sardaie, dodhi, or…………?

    Ghurbat aur maussam ka,
    ajab hay ye milaap,
    Goya, Dandda koondi mein,
    ya koondi mein ho Dandda
    Rafay Kashmiri

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