The Queensland floods that occurred in 2010-2011 forced over 200,000 people to leave their homes when three-quarters of the state was declared disaster zone. Among those who lost everything was Ali Choudhry. He was left with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. Still he considers himself as being lucky: “I was lucky though because I survived through it all and I feel I gained a lot through the experience. It was devastating both physically and emotionally as you may be able to imagine; yet surreal as well. What was surreal were the stories and photographs that emerged after the floods and the people who not only were able to survive the floods, but come out as stronger human beings through this trial by water.”
Having seen the photography that emerged from this devastating event and the power photography and social media had to give a voice to everyone, Ali Choudhry knew this is what he wanted to do. At Christmas 2011, exactly one year later, Ali got his first digital dingle-lens reflex camera and he hasn’t been able to put it down since. “Unlike many photographers who have been featured on BeutifulMag, I've only been at this for a year. I want to create images that have a story, that say something, especially something that may not have been said.”
These specific images are a series of four sets, which are still a work in progress. Ali wanted to give a sense of normalization to fetishism and alternative-ism in the gay community. He wanted to not only show these 'deviant' lifestyle choices such as bondage, tattooing, drag performance, etc, but show that the people behind them are like everyone else. Completely self taught, Ali likes to experiment quite a lot as well in terms of the technical aspects of photography, such as lighting. Also his models are non-professional. Often friends or friends of friends. He knew Paul Hutchings from University and was drawn to him after seeing some very expressive photos of Paul on his Facebook profile. Paul’s housemate Khalid Muhieddine was the one who assisted with the rope work. Though not an official representation of bondage, Ali felt that this free interpretation works out better in showing the fantasy of bondage than what actual bondage work might have done.
Together with thousands of other people Ali Choudhry lost everything he had during the 2010-2011 Queensland Floods. But he was able to turn the traumatic experience in a positive. It made him open his eyes to the world around him. A world that almost overnight changed completely. It made him discover the art of photography and the ability to use a camera to look at life with different eyes giving him a new vision of the world that surrounds him and us. –BM-
ALI CHOUDHRY | BEAUTIFULMAG