Frank Hallam Day
Frank Hallam Day
Issue No. 7 – March 2015
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“Lahore is a center of Sufi culture, but I became interested in Lahore and Sufis as two separate things. I had an assignment in Khartoum a few years ago, and stumbled onto the amazing weekly Sufi celebrations in Omdurman. I then became aware of the history of violence against Sufis, the most peaceful people, by Sunni extremists. Quite independently, a friend with great experience in South Asia mentioned the beauty of Lahore, the “pearl of the Punjab.”
A year later I took advantage of an assignment in Pakistan to spend a few nights in Lahore during the 967th annual Rus Data Baksh Ganj, a festival which honored that Sufi saint. I hired a local facilitator and a driver with a very small van. For this festival worshipers come from afar bringing offerings of milk to the saint’s shrine. They set up tents, large and small, along the main road to the temple, cook food and brew tea to hand out to the multitudes, and hold concerts for sacred music.
For four nights we met late in the afternoon and explored the city and its festival until early in the morning. We dropped in on their families, visited the dentist, took relatives for rides in the van and enjoyed late night suppers together. We were acutely aware of the danger of Sunni attack. In fact, ten hours after our last shoot the exact spot where we had been standing by a security checkpoint was destroyed by a suicide bomber with many casualties. The bomb had been concealed in a container of milk.”
Canon 5D Mk II
Frank Hallam Day’s work is in numerous museums and private collections, including the State Museum of Berlin, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts and others. He was the winner of the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Prize in 2012 and a winner of the Bader Prize in 2006. His interests include humanity’s footprint on the world and themes of social and cultural memory.