Shahidul Alam has long been gripped by the life of a woman he has never met.
It?s been two decades since Kalpana Chakma was abducted, but Shahidul refuses to forget her. Standing at the threshold of his latest exhibition,Kalpana?s Warriors, the Bangladeshi photographer pauses for a moment.
In the room beyond is the third in a series of photo exhibitions that began with Searching for Kalpana Chakma in 2013, and was followed by 18 in 2014. The woman around whom these pictures revolve is notably absent from them. She was abducted at gunpoint in the early hours of 12 June 1996 from her home in Rangamati in Bangladesh. Her captors were a group of plain-clothed men who were recognised as being from a nearby army camp. Kalpana never returned home and her fate remains unknown.
When the exhibition first opened at the Drik Gallery in Dhaka, many of those who had been photographed could not risk coming out of hiding, yet the room was full of people who knew Kalpana?s story intimately. Some simply stood for a while before the portraits, others wept. Continue reading “Kalpana's Warriors in Delhi”
Emaho got into a free-wheeling t?te-?-t?te with the legendary award-winning Bangladeshi photographer, Shahidul Alam to pry beyond his politics
Manik: In all your past interviews, you have mentioned how photography happened to you, so I will not ask that question, but what is photography for you? And your relationship with politics?
Shahidul: I am a very political animal and the reason I took up photography was because of my political position. Being concerned about the social situation in my country and globally, I happened to stumble into photography and discovered what a powerful tool it was; which happens to be the only reason why I practice it. I am fond of photography, I enjoyed images but at the end of the day that for me is not the point of the exercise. I continued to use photography in whatever way I can. Largely because, I see the strength of the medium and I recognise the potential. Having said that I think ? I have said this before ? that if tomorrow it ceases to effective, I?ll have no qualms about giving it up and taking something new.
Interview on 22nd February 2013, where he talks about the Shahbagh movement, his recent exhibition at Oitijjo in the South Bank in London and his upcoming exhibition on the disappearance of Kalpana Chakma.
Even the pit stop in Dhaka is threatened by Jamaat’s hartal tomorrow. I am hoping it will be even more of a flop than previous ones. Those of you who missed the interview in BBC (1:09 into the programme where I talk about Shahbagh). Look out for the oped in New York Times on Friday and the interview on Listening Post in Al Jazeera on Saturday.
Emaho caught up with celebrated French curator and photographer Christian Caujolle to see the view from his rarefied space.
Manik: It?s been more than 26 years roughly that you have started your career as a photo editor with Liberation and then you started curating; how has the journey and experience been so far?
Christian: I think that the first thing is that for different reasons the environment of photography and then the content?the aesthetics of photography radically changed. Let?s say that there are two main points which made those changes radical. One is the crisis of media business in printed paper and the second one is the invention of technology with the invention of development and coming of digital image. So the result in one way is a fact that the traditional media are in economic trouble but also may be conceptual trouble. As a consequence on what was the main or more visible area of photography from the 50s-80s, which was information, information with mostly photojournalism and part of documentary. That doesn?t means that photojournalism died, that means it?s no more at its top; that means that documentary photography, I will say in tradition which is an old tradition including from the beginning of 20th century when someone as Sander became more important than before in and after? there are big changes in the perception of photography with the development of the functionality of books, the exhibitions. Continue reading “Space Invader ? Christian Caujolle”
There?s only few days left before the beginning of Chobi Mela VII and there are still a thousand things to be done and we are awaiting many guests from all over the world. So tell me, how is this Chobi Mela different from previous editions of the festvial? What is special this time round?
Firstly, it?s actually an extension of previous ones, What we?ve always done in Chobi Mela is to ensure that it?s a very inclusive festival, there are people from all the continents, there is a very diverse range of work in terms of photographic practices, but also in terms of the ideas behind it. Of course we have some artists who are here for very first time, I mean Graciela Iturbide will be here for the first time, Max Pam will be here for the first time, we are not sure yet if Eugene Richards is able to make it, they have very tight schedules but their work is already here. So yes! Very exciting work.
I think it?s also very different in the sense that this time we have a much broader curatorial team, different styles, there?s been a far stronger curatorial input on this festival than there has been previously and of course new venues even within Shilpakala (National Art Gallery), it allows us to do things in a very different way.
I think it?s also different because there is much much more Bangladeshi involvement in this festival then there?s ever been. So in a sense while Chobi Mela is something we have been doing over so many years, its only now the Bangladeshi public is waking up? What a fantastic event it is. And I think this will certainly be an event to remember. Continue reading “?It?s fun! It?s specular! And it?s wonderfully different!?”
Show:?The Afia Salam Show Host:?Afia Salam Topic:?Picture is worth a thousand words Description:?While renowned Bangladeshi journalist, Shahidul Alam is not a man of few words, the storytelling he indulges in through his pictures are more powerful than words can be. Founder of DRIK photographic agency, he has traveled the world, and has worked for organizations like the National Geographic. However, it is work where he showcases the development challenges of the marginalized and under represented that have made him the persona of a teacher and an activist.
How do you think you can depict the problems of your area through photographs?
Do you think they will be a better medium than the words at expressing your thoughts? Language:?Urdu