Jaffer Hasan captures the dizzying effervescence of an amusement park, Funland, in Karachi; the series is entitled 'This Used to Be my Playground'. His beautiful shots inspired Mehvash Amin's ekphrastic poem 'Funland' which can also be viewed on this site.
Jaffer Hasan has a filmmaker’s eye. His images are short stories. Stories of the moment, of people, derelict buildings, flowers, fashion, trains on platforms, doors... He listens to and captures these visual stories with his camera.
Hasan is not your ordinary movie buff. He is a keen student of western cinema. Not because he is a trained filmmaker, but because he prefers to learn about human behaviour and the world around him through cinema. And that is exactly what he does in life through his camera’s lens.
Armed with double degree in history of cinema and digital filmmaking, Hasan arrived from the US in Pakistan about eight years ago. Like all returning graduates, he did a couple of stints with Pakistani documentary filmmakers. However, like all young, restless minds, he wanted to tell his own stories. In his free time, he picked up his camera and started roaming around the city that was his birthplace. Curiosity led him to revisit Karachi’s famous Funland. The once lively, bustling entertainment arena seemed like an old courtesan, all decked up but with no or very few patrons. Funland looked a ghost of its former glorious, boisterous self. He fell in love with it all over again. The result was a gorgeous series of images of glittering but almost vacant rides and empty spaces occasionally inhabited by men only.
At that time, he didn’t know that instead of moving images, stills would become his introduction and medium of storytelling. ‘This Used to Be My Playground’, the nostalgic photo essay of Funland’s psychedelic images, became Hasan’s ticket to fame.