I once took part in a group exhibition which was about street photography, and the show was titled 'Street Circus'. Since then I have been looking at street photography exactly that way. It is always a stage, with abundance of so many characters.
Street photography is almost always impossible without being a people’s person. It takes time, patience and trust to shoot in this genre.
One experience relevant to this will always stay with me. A few years ago, while I was doing photography for my first book 'Dharkan: the Heartbeat of a Nation', in Karachi I noticed a rod sticking out of the grimy water of a manhole. When I went closer I saw that a man was completely immersed inside the dark hole cleaning the gutter. It was such a haunting sight. When he came out of the manhole to take a cigarette break, I sat down with him and we chatted. I learnt that his name was Akram Masih and he was one of the many sanitation workers in the city. For a meager salary of 5000 rupees (around $30) a month, Akram was doing one of the most dangerous and thankless jobs in the world. The life expectancy of sanitation workers is only 45. This story left a deep impression on my mind and this photograph led me to make my first documentary film, 'Hellhole', with Akram’s uncle, Pervez Masih.