By Kai Teo
“Living with a tribal elder in troubled Peshawar, being sucked into mystical Sufi Nights in Lahore or getting lost in the Cholistan desert; those were the times when I learned to see the country with different eyes. It did not take much to fall in love with Pakistan." said Manolo Ty, the Berlin-based photographer, and a personal friend of mine, as he recounts his journey across the charming country.
As I looked closely at the photographs he sent me, every one of them was more than a captured moment – they were intimate stories of love, joy, and the immense strength of the human spirit. Each one had the power to suck you in into a colourful narrative of a day in the lives of those whom many in the Western world would've never gotten the chance to meet.
It took Manolo two years, travelling to over 25 separate locations, braving the dangers of cities constantly threatened by violence, losing his way in the vast desert, forming lifelong friendships with the people he photographed, to compile his latest photo book "Pakistan Now".
In the book's 276 images, Manolo would take you on a breathtaking journey through the vibrant, crowded market streets of Lahore, to the humble backyards of Cholistan's desert villages. It's not so much a portrayal of a different world, but more of a reflection of our similarities, our shared values, and our common understanding of life.
Syed Ali Ahmad, the Imam of the Shah Faisal Mosque (National Mosque of Pakistan) also commended Manolo's honest portrayal of Pakistan, "Mr. Manolo Ty, you explored almost every corner of Pakistan and closely observed the culture, environment and community of the country. Your photographs show the richest and the poorest women, children and elderly people in Pakistan. All these efforts have resulted into the compilation of your book. I really appreciate your hard work in showing our country."
Manolo will launch the book Pakistan Now on Wednesday 1 Feb 2017, 5pm, at Hotel Oderberger in Berlin. Do check it out if you're in the area. He will then present the book to audiences in Leipzig Book Fair, Pakistan, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and India along with exhibitions and talks.
Buddha Mag would like to thank Manolo for sharing these mesmerising pictures with us. And dear friend, I thank you for giving us this invaluable glimpse into the everyday lives of those living in the enchanting Pakistan, and helping us take a step closer to understanding just how similar all humans of the world are.
Looking for more art, music, and even crazier stuff? Follow Buddha Mag on Facebook, and like us, we like likes.