Overview participating exhibitions

Making Oneself

Making Oneself

Samsul Alam Helal

Love Studio (2012-2015)

In an industrial area in Dhaka, Samsul Alam Helal runs a commercial photo studio known as the Love Studio. The studio provides elaborate, painted backdrops and props for locals, who mostly work in the surrounding factories, to visit and symbolically create their dream portrait for posterity, away from their actual social status and reality. A truck driver becomes an action hero, twins turn into Greek goddesses, and a boy who works for a roadside tea stall was unable to let go of a dummy of the artist Shahnaj, which he hugged and kissed in the previous photo session. For Helal and his sitters, Love Studio becomes the catalyst of everyday life, a breathing space from the harsh reality. At the same time, the studio manifests the transformation of the portrait tradition in Bangladesh over the course of history, as the sitters turn themselves from objects of colonial control into subjects of their own hopes and dreams. 


Samsul Alam Helal is a documentary photographer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose interests evolve around the medium’s social function. He graduated with a degree in Photography from the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. His work was selected for the Prix Mark Grosset in 2013, and he was a finalist in the IPA Photo Essay 2013. His work has been exhibited, most recently, at the Singapore International Photography Festival and Eye On Bangladesh in New York (2014), the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, the Chobi Mela International Photography Festival, Dhaka, and the Festival of Promenades Photographiques 2013, France (2013). His work has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines.