"It’s called Ishurdi. It means ‘where God stays,’” Sarker Protick says as he tells me about the district in Bangladesh where he’s been photographing his latest project Of River and Lost Lands
Protick: “I wanted to tell the story of these villages, which are actually going away day by day. The places you have been seeing in these photographs, they are gone already, they don’t exist anymore. Every time I go there the whole geography changes. I always walk from village to village, but walking is getting more difficult because the river is eating away all the land.”
…His photographs are beautiful, but they also evoke mourning; it’s the same kind of duality that the river communities have grown accustomed to. Protick talks about his choice to create this monochrome, ethereal aesthetic, which he says was shaped by the place. “I was taking normal exposures in the beginning, but slowly when I was looking at my prints, I started noticing I had this tendency of photographing in high key. So then I decided this would be an interesting approach to tell this story. As an author, I have to know what I am telling but also how I am telling.”
Sarker Protick’s photography is always magical and ethereal. The reason that Protick’s “Of River and Lost Lands” is very dear to my heart is because I too am from an island that has been/continues to be highly vulnerable to riverbank erosion. Migration from low land to high land areas has been even more common recently. My dada bari in particular is estimated to be swept away in the next couple of years. The house has been empty for over a decade now.