For the past 10 years, Asim Haque’s main job has been as a trader, but four years ago, he discovered a passion for street photography while taking photos on his Blackberry.
Now, as a side gig, he’s working on a variety of projects and he’s experiencing the world through the camera’s point of view.
After living in Vancouver from 2005 to 2010, Haque felt a desire for change, so he decided to move back to Calgary and chase the hustle — which led him to work as a full-time trader.
“I fell into finance accidentally,” says Haque.. “I wanted to be in advertising but I just traded to earn a living. I happened to record my trades, I could manage money, I’ve been doing it for myself, and I could live off it.”
Since 2010, Haque is still working full-time as a trader, which he enjoys and appreciates.
“I like economics, but it can be an unfair game to a lot of people. If you study the game and learn how to capitalize on it, you play the game right, and I kind of figured that out,” says Haque.
While working his full time job, Haque started taking photos on his blackberry, using the filters on Instagram.
Little did he know how much this hobby would serve a purpose in his life.
”It’s the process which I fell for. Getting from A to B, to, ‘Oh, they look dope — let me approach them,’ and then hopefully I can shoot them, that’s B.”
Haque describes his style of photography as “raw and organic,” capturing the authenticity of the moment. Sometimes he’ll approach a stranger on the street and photograph them.
“No plans, no backdrops —unless you’re walking by and a shadow’s falling dope on a wall, and the light coming from a nice angle, so you ask your subject to stand in front of it.
But that wasn’t planned ahead of time. You walked by, saw an opportunity for a shot and just took it. That’s street photography,” Haque explains.
In 2014, he approached Jared Herring via Instagram, recognizing Herring’s artistic expression through dance, and they’ve worked together since.
Herring appreciates and respects Haque’s style of shooting where he ditches the agenda and surrenders to the moment.
“Asim’s a street artist. He’s got his eyes open. He allows the stage to present itself to him because he’s present and he’s sensitive to those things. Rather than trying to force it, he just goes with the flow,” Herring says.
Haque’s passion for photography became more than just a hobby when he landed his first big project with Tourism Calgary to take portraits of people around the city.
“That was different, where I just showed up. Subjects knew I was coming, I don’t really like that, because there’s a little nerves that come from the subject if they know they’re getting photographed or they overthink it,” says Haque.
In fact, with his reputation in capturing impromptu photos, the Juno Awards brought him on to do a small shoot of The Weekend in 2016.
The Weekend at the Junos in 2016. Photo by: Asim Haque.
”I had one minute with The Weekend, I had one look, called him out with the others around. It felt like paparazzi-style and he just looked over for me and I caught it, it was nice” Haque explains.
Through photography, Haque has connected with other photographers in the city including Curtis Desiatnyk, who is the chair of the Art Committee at Mount Royal University. Desiatnyk recognizes Haque’s art and work ethic.
Desiatnyk says: “He’s always pushing himself and doing new stuff, and from a commercial standpoint. He’s fairly inspiring, to see that he’s such a hustler, right? So, he’s always grinding, always doing something new — yeah, I definitely respect that.”
In fact, Haque’s work will be featured along with the other photographs curated by Desiatnyk for the upcoming photography exhibit on Main Street in the main building at Mount Royal University.
Haque also has his camera with him while he’s travelling. He actually captured his favourite photo while leaving a show at New York Fashion Week.
“There were these two models on the street interacting with all these photographers and I choose to shoot it where I created context instead of a portrait, and I still remember that shit,” he says.
“It was exactly what I saw on the street, I imported and cropped it and it was exactly what I had in my head.”
Haque confesses that photography changed his life and style of travel.
“I used to travel to eat, shop and drink. Once I put a camera in my hand, I saw everything differently. Everything was clear, and made sense, the true essence of travel came to me when I started seeing it through a viewfinder.”
Haque hopes for his career in photography to continue evolving and to capture photos for the greater good.
”I just want to shoot people doing better for humanity. People doing the right thing, I want to take their portraits.”