Stories from the Road: As the Sun Sets in Dhaka

Stories from the Road is a collection of stories about my own photographic adventures in South Asia. Sometimes the stories are exciting and sometimes mundane and at times emotional. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the story.

It looks like my friend was not able to rescue my files off of my busted hard drive, so I guess I have lost all of my photos from the first half of my trip this past fall. When I get the drive back he said he had one other thing for me to try, so we will see. I will keep you posted.


For this week I chose to talk about the last photograph I made in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is not an award winning photograph but gives a real sense of the city. I took this photograph from the window of our hotel room (I was traveling with my mom).  We were staying in the financial district and it was an interesting experience. There is nothing in the area for travelers to do but there were other foreigners staying there as well.

Our last night in Dhaka, we went back to our room early, as we had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the airport. (Many of the international flights in and out of South Asia leave in the middle of the night.) I was standing at the window looking out over the city. A way of saying my farewell, I suppose. The sun was setting and you can see the smog outside. Blurred in the edges of the foreground you see the safety grate out side the window. Along the bottom third of the photograph you can see people sitting in the bleachers of the national stadium (there was a soccer game being played). One of the light sources from the stadium dominates the middle of the frame. Obscured behind the light structure you can see a single minaret, which is from the national mosque. Beyond that you just see the structures of the city. You can understand the crowded nature of the city, in a sense its essence.

In that final moment, the final look, I always feel like a new chapter is about to begin. What I have just experienced I will go home and process and it will change me. The sun setting in this photograph is like a metaphor for the ending of a specific period in my life.

Several goals were definitely accomplished on the trip. I traveled to my second South Asian country, I attended the Chobi Mela (photography festival), and my mom left the North American continent for the first time!

2015 was a year of ups and downs for both my mother and myself. However, it was a year of travel. We started the year together going to Turkey and Bangladesh. My mom went to Thailand during the summer. I went to India and Nepal. Then we met in Italy at the end of October. To begin and end with my mom, you can not beat that.

So, beyond this photograph being a document of the Dhaka sunset, or for me a real sense of the city, it is perfect for both endings and beginnings.

May everyone have a Happy New Year and go somewhere and make some photos!

By |2016-11-10T18:43:00-06:00December 29th, 2015|Bangladesh, Travel|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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