Happy Friday, dear ones, and welcome to the Open Mic!
Today I am thrilled to introduce you to Naveed Ahmad. Naveed is an old friend from high school who has recently started a photography business. He’ll share some of his photos with you, as well as the story of how he began taking pictures in earnest.
Notes on Prague, Naveed Ahmad
“Prague never lets you go….this dear little mother has sharp claws”
— Franz Kafka
I went to Prague alone in 2008 at the tail-end of a business trip. Having read Kafka and central European history in college, I was already curious about the bizarre city and chose to spend a week there in a rented studio apartment. I think a part of me wanted a glamorized micro-experience, something akin to Van Gogh in Arles, or Hemingway in Paris, but I didn’t have any artistic endeavor to show for it.
My routine was the same every day. Fitted with a three-quarter coat and scarf to brace against the cold, I meandered through the winding cobble stone streets armed with only a camera and a Czech phrasebook. The solitude gave me lots of time to reflect on my miserable job and lulling career path, an emotionally empty relationship I felt stuck in, and a plethora of other typical mid-life crisis problems at 26. In between all the thinking, I took pictures.
But Prague castle ominously overlooking the Vltava river, the aging insides of Gothic design in the St. Vitus Cathedral, the icy statues on Charles bridge, and underlying currents of surrealism exhibited by the architecture and overcast weather didn’t exactly help my situation. It’s true. Prague apparently isn’t what comes to mind as a destination for a spiritual retreat, or a vacation to get away from it all.
But what it did do, was exacerbate my feelings. Like a mother (with sharp claws), it nurtured the darkness and loneliness I was feeling at the time, and it seemed to have made its way through how I saw the city and evidently the camera lens and immediate post-production. Kafka, that crazy kook, was right.
I have always loved taking pictures and consider myself fortunate to have the chance to travel. But the weeklong stint in Prague is especially memorable because it was when photography for me transformed from “here is a picture of me in front of the pyramids” or “here’s homeboy eating nasi goreng” into a means of self expression.
Naveed Ahmad is an aspiring artist living in San Francisco continuing to develop his photography artistry. He is no longer in that dead-end job and has since moved on from that relationship. He hopes to one day attend the international photography festival, the Rencontres d’Arles in Arles, France, with his left ear intact.
You can see his work at naveedphoto.com.