My journey as a witness on National Geographic website

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Click here to find out more!Shahidul Alam ? My Journey as a Witness


My Journey as a Witness

Shahidul Alam

Beautifully illustrated,?My Journey as a Witness, is the first publication of over two decades of Shahidul Alam?s photography. This inspiring personal journey offers unique, insider perspectives on Bangladesh and its many messages of struggle and triumph. Borrowing from the concept of blogging, it is a chronological account ? in words and images ? of a photographer, teacher and activist living in one of the most impoverished countries in the world, and his attempts to engage with international media, while challenging the categorization of his people as icons of poverty. It also documents an entire artistic movement of photojournalists fighting the establishment in Bangladesh. Through personal stories, essays, poetry and photographs, Alam is testimony to the complexities of living and working in an environment where the personal is always political. This book also dwells on the organizational methods that have allowed the remarkable Drik photo agency to survive and excel in an international setting. In the backdrop are the personal and emotional tensions that inevitably arise where political goals are often achieved at the cost of individual needs.
About the book
This book showcases Shahidul Alam?s photographs, more than 100 color and black and white plates illustrating the journey of an artistic, social, and political witness from inside Bangladesh. This groundbreaking work retraces his personal vision spanning three decades and provides the best interpretative and investigative angles into a culture and reality that is otherwise often misunderstood in the West. Using photography and journalism as its parameters, it is the first comprehensive vision of Bangladesh. These images are not ?about? the region from a European perspective, nor are they an ethnographic account of an ex-colonial world. Instead, this volume is an ?on-the-ground? insight, exploring its topography with decidedly competent indigenous eyes. A personal ?way of seeing? ? the journey of a witness ? this book offers a reflective picturing of national and geographical truths, where the ?other? is no longer a stranger. Alam provides a purposeful alternative to the media driven images of poverty and destruction, literally defying received notions of the Subcontinent. After many years of struggle, he is a pioneering catalyst, inspiring development from within his ?majority world?; founding an artistic movement that cannot be silenced: the emergence of local photographers, achieving an intimacy with their subjects that truly understands and so rivals Western perceptions.
Alam?s image making carries its editorial eloquence far beyond its subject matter. For over 30 years, he has led the way in developing photography as a discipline in Bangladesh, producing an entirely new generation of acclaimed artists in the international arena. His writing style is personal, sometimes fast paced, often reflective, with magnificent imagery interwoven throughout the narrative.
Purchase?My Journey as a Witness here
About the author
Shahidul Alam is a photographer, writer, curator and activist. He obtained a PhD in chemistry at London University before switching to photography. He returned to his hometown Dhaka in 1984, where he photographed the democratic struggle to remove General Ershad. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the award winning Drik Agency, the Bangladesh Photographic Institute, and Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography; considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Director of the Chobi Mela International Photo Festival and chairman of Majority World Agency, Alam?s work has been exhibited in galleries such as?MOMA in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Royal Albert Hall in London and The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Tehran. A guest curator of the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and the Brussels Biennale, Alam?s numerous photographic awards include the Mother Jones and the Andrea Frank Awards. He has been a jury member in prestigious international contests, including World Press Photo, which he chaired. An Honourary Fellow of the Bangladesh Photographic Society and the Royal Photographic Society, Alam is a visiting professor of Sunderland University in the UK and principal of the South Asian Media Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A prominent social activist Shahidul Alam is also a promoter of new media and has lectured and published widely on photography, new media and education, in the?USA, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood

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300 film still and writer frank miller

‘A mindless, propagandistic storytelling medium’ ? The film 300, left, and its writer Frank Miller. Photographs: Allstar/AP
A sturdy corollary emerges in the wake of?the graphic artist?Frank Miller‘s recent diatribe against the?Occupy Wall Street movement (“A pack of louts, thieves, and rapists ? Wake up, pond scum, America is?at war against a ruthless enemy”), available for perusal atfrankmillerink.com). That corollary, of which we should be reminded from time to time, is this: popular entertainment from Hollywood is ? to greater or lesser extent ? propaganda. And Miller has his part in that, thanks to films such as?300 and?Sin City.
Perhaps you have had this thought before. Perhaps you have had it often. I can remember politics dawning on me while watching a?Steven Seagal vehicle, Under Siege, in 1992. I was in my early 30s.?The film was without redeeming merit ? there’s no other way to put it ? and it was about a “ruthless enemy” and the reimposition of the American social order through violence and rugged individualism. Why had I paid hard-earned money for it? Good question. Before Under Siege, I had a tendency to think action films were?funny. I had a sort of Brechtian relationship to their awfulness. And I was?amused when films themselves recognised the level to which they stooped, as Under Siege assuredly did. Continue reading “Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood”

Khaled Hasan wins 2011 Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship

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Ten journalists from around the world have been awarded the 2011 Dart?Center Ochberg Fellowship.
 The 2011 Dart Center Ochberg Fellows will come from around the world to attend a week-long s ...

The 2011 Dart Center Ochberg Fellows will come from around the world to attend a week-long seminar to improve coverage of traumatic events.

The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University?s Graduate School of Journalism announces the recipients of the 2011?Dart Center Ochberg Fellowships for coverage of violence and trauma.
The Ochberg Fellowships were established in 1999 by the Dart Center for journalists seeking to deepen their reporting of traumatic events. Fellowships are awarded to outstanding mid-career journalists in all media who have dedicated much of their work to covering violence, conflict and tragedy, including street crime, family violence, natural disasters, war and genocide.
The week-long Ochberg Fellowship offers journalists a unique opportunity to learn about the many dimensions of psychological trauma and to forge relationships with colleagues who share their interests. Fellows attend seminars with leading experts in trauma science and journalism practice, and participate in the annual conference of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
The 2011 Dart Center Ochberg Fellows are (detailed biographies are below):

  • Elizabeth Aguilera, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego, California
  • Natasha Gardner, 5280 Magazine, Denver, Colorado
  • Aaron Glantz, The Bay Citizen, San Francisco, California
  • Khaled Hasan, Independent Photojournalist, Bangladesh
  • Kateryna Ivanova, Rivne Investigative Reporting Agency, Ukraine
  • Kathie Klarreich, Independent Journalist, Haiti
  • Beth Macy, The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images, Miami, Florida
  • Dan Shortridge, The News Journal, New Castle, Delaware
  • Marcela Turati, Revista Proceso, Mexico

Pop Tech 2011 interview

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Shahidul Alam on photography for change

Shahidul Alam
Shahidul Alam walked on stage on Thursday wearing a marigold-colored salwar kameez, a camera over his left shoulder, and a beltpack slung around his hips. There was no mistaking his calling. The Bangladeshi photographer, activist and social entrepreneur has almost single-handedly rebalanced the world of photojournalism, long dominated by Western photographers and their worldview. He has shifted its lens eastward and southward by training legions of photographers in his homeland, creating an award-winning photo agency to sell their work and founding a prestigious international photography festival to showcase their talent. And this fall, he published a book,?My Journey as a Witness, telling the story of Bangladeshi photography as an instrument of social justice. He serves as an ambassador of this movement, in the words of PopTech?s executive director, Andrew Zolli, ?travelling the world leaving new cultures of art makers in his wake.? We sat down with Alam backstage in Camden, Maine. Continue reading “Pop Tech 2011 interview”

USA events: Book launch, artist's talk, lecture

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Book launch at Rizzoli Book Store

Talk at Busboys & Poets

Skira, Bengal Foundation and Busboys & Poets cordially invite you to a book signing for:?Shahidul Alam “My Journey as a Witness” edited by Rosa Maria Falvo
Friday, November 11, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Busboys & Poets
1025 5th Street Northwest
Washington D.C. 20001
+1(202)789-2227
Dr. Alam will be delighted to sign copies purchased during the event
——————————————————————————

Lecture at Georgetown University

Cultural Diplomacy
Monday November 14th 11:30 am
St. ?Mary?s ?120. ?Best ?access is ?Reservoir ?Road, ?hospital ?entrance ?#1. ?St. Mary?s is on the left. ?You ?can ?park on the street, ?or ?go to the ?Georgetown ?parking lot in the Leavey Center. ?Just ?keep ?going ?from ?entrance ?one to ?the ?garage.

Interview at NPR:

Every weekday for over three decades, NPR’s Morning Edition has taken?listeners around the country and the world with two hours of multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. stories and commentaries that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the USA. Shahidul Alam will be interviewed by Morning Edition. Contact Salma Hasan Ali for details:

CPW 2011 Vision Award Tribute

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FotoFest visionaries Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss honored by Center for Photography at Woodstock


It was the early nineties when I first met Fred and Wendy at their home in Houston. I continued to be awed by the phenomenal energy and passion of this wonderful couple. The award was long deserved.

PopTech 2011 Interview:

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PopTech 2011 Interview: Shahidul Alam on photography for change

Lindsay Borthwick?(?BIO / ??POSTS )??|??Friday, October 21, 2011 UTC
?
Shahidul Alam walked on stage on Thursday wearing a marigold-colored salwar kameez, a camera over his left shoulder, and a beltpack slung around his hips. There was no mistaking his calling. The Bangladeshi photographer, activist and social entrepreneur has almost single-handedly rebalanced the world of photojournalism, long dominated by Western photographers and their worldview. He has shifted its lens eastward and southward by training legions of photographers in his homeland, creating an award-winning photo agency to sell their work and founding a prestigious international photography festival to showcase their talent. And this fall, he published a book,?My Journey as a Witness, telling the story of Bangladeshi photography as an instrument of social justice. He serves as an ambassador of this movement, in the words of PopTech?s executive director, Andrew Zolli, ?travelling the world leaving new cultures of art makers in his wake.? We sat down with Alam backstage in Camden, Maine.
PopTech: You founded?Drik, a photo agency, and the?Chobi MelaInternational Festival of Photography. Why did you feel it was important for Bangladeshi photographers, as well as their peers, to have these outlets for their work?
Shahidul Alam: Firstly, it was a question of addressing this very distorted perception people have of what I call the ?majority world? countries. Our poverty is a reality, but that is not the only identity that we have. Secondly, I wanted to challenge a very unidirectional form of storytelling that has — to a large extent — been propagated by the West. The richness and diversity of human life gets lost in a very agenda-led information distribution system. So that was the beginning.
We also wanted to celebrate our own culture. It?s not that I am against white, Western photographers producing work in Bangladesh — I think our ideas need to be challenged just as much. It?s the monopoly of dissemination that I was against. So we wanted to create a space for diversity — for both Western work and our own work. That?s where the Chobi Mela festival came in — to facilitate that cultural infusion.
Continue reading “PopTech 2011 Interview:”

Medellin Talk

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My talk at Museo D Antioquia in Medellin on 21st Oct 2011:

From the Lions Point Of View

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By Peter Marshall

From the blog >Re Photo

?Isn?t it a thrill to have him here in London? said the woman behind me to a friend as we we all waited, hardly an empty seat in the small lecture area of National Geographics?s Regent St first floor, and the next hour or so listening to Shahidul Alam talking, showing pictures and answering questions certainly justified her anticipation.
? 2011, Peter Marshall
Probably most of us in the audience had some idea of the incredible transformation Dr Alam has made to the world of photography, not just in his native Bangladesh but worldwide, although so much still remains to be done, but I think all of us found there was even more to him – and his family – than we had been previously aware.
Alam?s mother in particular was a formidable woman; determined to get a university education despite the opposition of her mother-in-law to the education of women, she left home every morning in a burkha ?going to visit friends? and went to study. Armed with her degree she dedicated herself to the education of women, and having found little backing for her project, bought a tent and used it to set up her own school for girls.
Later too we heard that his father had dared to evade the ?invitation? sent to him along with the other leading intellectuals of the country to take tea with the occupying Pakistani generals in 1971 just a few days before the end of the war. It was a story accompanied by a picture by Rashid Talukdar of a severed head in rubble, from the killing fields of Rayerbazar. Altogether more than a thousand teachers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, artists, writers and engineers were massacred.
Continue reading “From the Lions Point Of View”

Delhi Photo Festival 2011

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The biennial Delhi Photo Festival 2011 is an initiative of the?India Habitat Centre &?Nazar Foundation to bring photography, the real democratic art form, into the public space, thereby creating awareness of photographic arts and initiating dialogue amongst its many practitioners and lovers.