In coversation with the brains behind Chittabong
There are a few sights that can leave you mesmerized, and before you know it, you’ve been staring at them for longer than you initially intended. These sights could be of the most mundane things imaginable, and yet, they leave an impact. Now, with the subtle yet rapid rise of aesthetically pleasing images on the internet, there is no shortage of accounts on Instagram that can serve you the visual pleasure you unknowingly crave. An account that does just that, with the sceneries of our very own, very beautiful Bangladesh, is Chittabong. Run by Imam Hossain, a photographer based in Chittagong, this account is bound to make you stare. We had the opportunity to work with Imam on this month’s cover, and sat down with him to find out more about what he does.
Talk us through your journey as a photographer. When did you start, and what made you want to take it up as a profession?
Even three years ago, I had no clue that maybe someday I could be a photographer, or anything of that sort. I was always driven by good movies. And deep down, I always wanted to be a filmmaker. But that was just an ambition of a struggling engineering student; I had no serious plans regarding it. When I got my first iPhone, I became addicted to taking photos and filming videos, and I started capturing moments around me wherever I went. I was inspired by my city, Chittagong, and wanted to share its beauty. Hence my Instagram username, Chittabong, came to be. I take my Instagram game very seriously. I believe, in the recent years, Instagram has become the best platform to reach out to my audience as a photographer, filmmaker or a content creator. I didn’t want to create content or stories that you’ll just tap on and it’ll go away. I wanted to amuse people within that 16:9 screen every time they see my content. So, gradually, when I started reaching out to more people, I got an offer to make an OVC. But I had no DSLR camera at the time, so I just made it with my iPhone, and it came out pretty decent. This motivated me to get my very first DSLR. Later on, I started shooting for different brands, resorts and restaurants. But at the end of the day my goal is to be a filmmaker -- to make visually stunning movies with stories that we can relate to.
You always have a very pleasing colour scheme in your photos, and it seems like you study colour schemes used in movies and their significance in telling a story. How do you interpret colour and use it in your content?
Colours play a huge role when you visually want to represent a place, scenario or any certain mood. If I have to mention, I’d name a few movies like Her, Barfi and Lost in Translation. The use of colours in these movies was breathtaking. If you're looking for a subtle way to make a scene resonate with you emotionally, there may be no better way than choosing a colour associated with the emotion you are trying to evoke. The same rule applies to photos as well. My pictures and videos are all about that good vibe with a tinge of nostalgia and melancholy. So I mostly use orange-green-blue in my content. These add a bit of that cinematic effect. Also, music plays an important part to make my videos look cinematic. I love discovering and sharing tunes that make me feel a certain way. I try to use music that compliments the visual vibes of my work, mostly guitar-piano instrumentals and lo-fi music.
What kind of photos would you say you focus on with Chittabong? What is your forte?
I shoot everything. Anything that looks visually pleasing attracts me. Landscapes, however, are my favourite subjects to shoot.
What's the secret behind an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed? How important is it to attract viewers/followers?
If you create a theme and stick to it, people will associate that with your name, and that is the way your photos will become more recognizable. A lot of people think that having a theme means every picture needs to look the same. That’s not true! The goal is to create the perfect balance between visually aesthetic content and the colours in it. It’s your choice if you want your feed to be bright, full of colours or dark. Instagram followers love refined, bright pictures, as well as an overall consistent feed. Both of these elements, when combined, can help to generate more followers and engagement.