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The Pakistani Photographer Who Defied The Rules of Society

Engineer or doctor, these are the two options that are presented to every child in Pakistan. Parental pressure force most of us to dig a grave for our dreams, bury them in it, and start walking on the path that will lead to either of the two acceptable professions. In addition to the pressure from home, the urge to conform to society’s rules is also hard to fight. But in some of us the dreams burn too bright and no matter how hard the society tries it cannot put out that light. These individuals accomplish their dreams against all odds and their success silences all the people who doubted them. Photographer and filmmaker Salman Alam Khan is one such individual.

Salman’s parents wanted him to become an engineer. But he realized that his passion lies elsewhere. Which is why he enrolled in media studies. But it wasn’t the university education that taught him anything. It was the actual work, the experiments, observations, and practice. Salman is a successful filmmaker today because he has never stopped learning. To him, each day is a new opportunity to learn something new. Even after four years of work in the field, he still values his rules of practicing and learning above all else.

Salman’s Journey So far

As a filmmaker, Salman has worked with numerous famous organizations and TV channels including ISPR, DGPR, PBS Network, and CNN. Salman has also worked with the US Embassy Pakistan. In 2015, along with other filmmakers, Salman shot the documentary titled Emerging Faces featuring Cynthia Ritchie, a foreigner who traveled to Pakistan to explore different cultures and religions. The aim of the documentary was to show a positive image of Pakistan to the world.

Salman has worked as a photographer for different organizations. You can see his work on his Instagram. Four photographs by Salman Alam Khan were chosen by Samsung for their annual calendar of 2017. Apart from filmmaking and photography, Salman’s wander lust didn’t let him rest either. Traveling is the passion that has taken him from lush green valleys of Kashmir to snow-capped mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan. Along with an American biker and human rights activist and her daughter, he traveled to Swat on a motor bike and documented the journey through his camera.

His Achievements

Salman Alam Khan’s award cabinet is huge. Even before he started working, Salman had received over 20 awards on the national level as a part of the media society at Punjab University. In 2015, for his achievements in filmmaking and photography, Salman Alam Khan was awarded the Pakistan Youth Icon Award on International Youth Day. He has organized workshops at prestigious institutions including Pakistan Air Force College, Sargodha.

His Ideas, His Passion

Salman has worked in the field of filmmaking and photography for four years now. He prefers to work as a freelancer. He believes that in this way he won’t be stuck in a place working on similar projects for the rest of his life. In freelancing, Salman is presented with a new idea every week. Along with every project, Salman gets presented with a new opportunity to learn more. For Salman, photography and filmmaking mean seeing the world from a different perspective. And sharing that perspective with the world brings him a satisfaction that cannot be explained in words.

Hope for Future

Salman believes that his travels and work has taught him to be a more kind and understanding human being. Due to his field work, he has begun to see a new side of the world. Salman’s work is a sign of hope for many artists in our country. Particularly for those who want to follow their dreams but are too afraid to do so. Let us all hope and pray that our society learns to let children decide their own future because only then more artists like Salman will come forward.


Images by Salman Alam Khan

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