50 years of independence

The 1971 memory project

I am starting this project with the hope that people across the globe can help me identify and hopefully trace as many people as possible in these photographs. I shall be regularly uploading images and linking them up with my social media. Please comment, link, tag, share these images and help me locate the people in them. Please also feel free to share insights into the situation, particularly if you happen to have been present.
I would like to complete this by 2021, when I would like to curate a major show to commemorate 50 years of Independence. Please feel free to send me pictures to. Please try to provide as much information as you can about the photograph and the photographer. Ideally we would like all the photographs to be credited.
Thanks for your help.
Shahidul Alam.
Here is the first image. It was taken by one of our finest photojournalists, and a dear friend,?Rashid Talukder. The photograph was taken on the 10th January 1972, when Mujib returned to an independent Bangladesh upon his release from captivity in Pakistan. The person dangling from the jeep with the Rollei hanging is another famous Bangladeshi photographer Aftab Ahmed:

The return to Bangladesh of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, released from captivity in Pakistan. Photo: Rashid Talukder/Drik/Majority World
The return to Bangladesh of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, released from captivity in Pakistan. Photo: Rashid Talukder/Drik/Majority World

You may tag individuals in this photograph here?(Requires Facebook)

Bangladeshi photographers win yet again!

G.M.B.Akash a student from Pathshala’s first batch wins first prize for his photo titled “Passengers without Ticket” in the prestigious Gordon Parks Photography Competition 2007. More work by Akash can be seen at www.majorityworld.com and www.gmb-akash.com.
Other winners include “A woman standing by her paraplegic husband” by Lisa Wiltse (2nd place)
“Touch of protection” by Olivier Asselin (3rd place)
“Loss” by Chris Zuppa (honorable mention)
Mom and me by Kenny Felt (honorable mention)
and “New Citizen” by Jim Gehrz (honorable mention)
More news on the contest available soon from www.gordonparkscenter.org The video of Chobi Mela IV can be seen at: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1213900621 The video “In Search of the Shade of the Banyan Tree” can be seen at: http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1237905984 Thanks to Oliver and Angilee and UCLA International Institute for uploading the video, Asfia for the Banyan Tree song and to the large number of people who helped in the production of the videos.
Bangladeshi photographers have consistently shone internationally. Yet photography remains neglected by the Bangladeshi government. A bill passed in parliament in 1989, to open a department of photography in “Shilpakala Academy” the academy of fine and performing arts, has yet not been implemented. Even “Charukala Institute” the department of fine arts, lacks a photography course. Yet Dhaka is rapidly becoming one of the major capitals of photography and Chobi Mela, the festival of photography held in Dhaka is one of the major events in the Asian media calendar. It has often been the case that artists have only been recognised in our own soil once they have received international acclaim. Sadly, even outstanding international perfomance in the field of photography, does not appear to have woken up the fossils in the Bangladesh secretariat.


The National Geographic Society’s All Roads Film Project recognizes and supports indigenous and underrepresented storytellers from around the world who are documenting their changing cultures and communities through photography and film. For the third consecutive year of this popular program, we present talented artists from Israel, Kashmir, Lapland, Mongolia, Nigeria, and the United States who have been selected by the National Geographic Society to present their work and reflect on ways their images and stories make connections that help create a more just and beautiful world. The All Roads photographers will be joined by Chris Rainier of the National Geographic Society and photographer Shahidul Alam, media activist and founder of the Drik photo agency in Bangladesh.

2007 Awardees

Altaf Qadri (Kashmir)
Kashmir: Paradise in Pain
Oded Balilty (Israel)
Along the Lines
Akintunde Akinleye (Nigeria)
The Troubles of a Blessed Country
A Yin (China, Inner Mongolia)
Highland Mongolian Life
Munem Wasif of Pathshala, received an honourable mention for his photo essay “Belongings”
Monday, October 1, 2007
Kresge Auditorium
Doors open at 6:00pm. Seating is limited, so please arrive early.
Please forward this announcement to anyone who may find it of interest.
Click here for more information about this event.
An Evening with Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass
Monday, October 8, 7:30pm in Memorial Auditorium
Free and Ticketed
For more information on these and other
Aurora Forum programs, please visit our website:
Aurora Forum at Stanford University

Tales From A Globalising World: Launch of World Tour

Ten photographers illustrate selected aspects of globalization in Asia, North America, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Their stories express a single subject that can be comprehended only in the light of its constant transformation.
Together they create a whole, which is brought together in the exhibition.

is a collective project that draws its strength from its individual authors. By uniting diverse photographic perspectives and styles of expression, it combines various aspects of globalization into an image of the new reality that is shaping the world we live in.
Photographed by
Akinbode Akinbiyi, Ziyo Gafic, Philip Jones Griffiths, Tim Hetherington,
Thomas Kern, Bertien van Manen, Shehzad Noorani, Cristina Nu?ez, Andreas
Seibert and Stephan Vanfleteren.
Conceived, curated and produced by
Daniel Schwartz
The show begins its international tour at Drik?s new gallery in Dhanmondi at 5:00 pm today (22nd September 2005) and will be the inaugural show at this exciting new venue. The exhibition will later go on to Cairo and Rome.
The guest of honour for the exhibition will be Professor Muzaffer Ahmad,
Trustee, Transparency International Bangladesh. Dr. Dora Rapold, the
honourable Ambassador of Switzerland in Bangladesh will be present as
the special guest.
The project is an initiative launched in 2002 by the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Imaging Famine and other events

Born Aid 20. The Commission on Africa. Live 8. Make Poverty History. The G8
Summit in Gleneagles. We are witnessing renewed debate about global poverty,
disasters and development, especially in Africa. Coming two decades after
the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980’s the time is ripe for a
reconsideration of the power and purpose of disaster pictures given the way
the images of the Ethiopian famine spawned the original Band Aid/Live Aid
Imaging Famine is one of several intriguing events I’ll be involved with in
September 2005. The event in New York is not public, so I’ve left out the
details, but I will be there in case anyone wants to meet up.
5th and 6th September: Imaging Famine Conference
The Newsroom. Guardian. London. UK
contact: Dave Clark, Bolton University: dj at djclark.com
*8th September: Panel Discussion: Imaging Development*
*Open University Campus, **Milton Keynes**. **UK***
*contact: Helen Yanacopulos, Open University: H.Yanacopulos at open.ac.uk *
*http://www.devstud.org.uk/Conference05/abstracts/PED.htm *
10th September: Symposium, A Critical Evaluation of Photographic
Sunderland University. Sunderland. UK
contact: Bas Vroege, Paradox: Ebv at paradox.nl
12th ? 14th September: New York
17th and 19th September: 15th Videobrasil International
Electronic Art Festival
Sesc Pomp?ia, S?o Paulo. Brazil
contact: Luciana Gomide, Video Brasil: *fcfcom at uol.com.br*
www.videobrasil.org.br <http://www.videobrasil.org.br>**
22nd September: Launch of Internatioanal Touring Exhibition: Tales From a
Globalising World
Drik Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh
contact: Rezaur Rahman, Drik: reza at drik.net
24th September: National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival
Egyptian Theatre: Los Angeles. USA
contact: Alexandra Nicholson, National Geographic: anichols at ngs.org
26th September: Presentation: “In Search of the Shade of the Banyan Tree”
UCLA. Los Angeles. USA
contact: Angilee Shah: angshah.asiamedia at gmail.com
29th September: Conference: Free Media
The Norwegian Institute of Journalism
contact: Solberg Oona, MFA: oona.solberg at mfa.no
It was Drik’s birthday yesterday! Sweet Sixteen!
Best wishes,
ps: we’ve started a data entry unit and are looking for work. So if you have
any ideas…

Chobi Mela and Bangladeshi photographers excel at National Geographic

You may be forgiven for thinking that the results of the National Geographic All Roads project had been fixed by me. Two out of the four main awardees and two out of the five
honourable mentions were from my list! Those of you who were here for Chobi
Mela III will recognise the work of three of the photographers listed here.
Shehzad was not involved in the festival, but has been a regular contributor
to Drik for many years. Neo spent a year at Pathshala as a Fredskorpset
participant. I am enclosing my introductions to the photographers that I had
submitted to the National Geographic.
 The festival opens at the Egyptian Theater in LA on the 21st September 2005.
Or else you could come to the 2nd part of the festival at the National
Geographic headquarters at Washington D.C. from the 29th September to the 1
st October. There is a morning seminar on the 30th. You will get to meet All
Roads Advisory Board members, photo program awardees, magazine editors,
filmmakers, and artists from around the world.
 The blurb from Geographic:
 Photographer Panel Discussion
*"Camera and Culture: The myth of objective documentation"*
Is documentary photography inherently objectifying? Can comprehensive
documentation be done through non-native eyes? Is there an unspoken
universal morality in documentary work?
 Please join us for a candid and interactive panel discussion exploring
these issues and more at both festival venues. Panelists will include *All**
Roads Photographers Program 2005 Awardees*, world-renowned photographer *
Reza*, and award-winning International Editor & Curator *Shahidul Alam*; the
discussion will be moderated by National Geographic Magazine, Senior Editor
*John Echave*.
Please see below for times at each location:
Saturday September 24, 2-3:15 pm, Egyptian Theater
Saturday Oct.1, 2-3:15 pm Grosvenor Auditorium
  And now the photographers:
 Neo Ntsoma:
 Neo Ntsoma is a complex person. High strung, energetic, intense,
passionate, laughing, crying, running, leaping, she is in the middle of
everything and everywhere. A spring ready to uncoil. She is also deceptively
perceptive. Having faced racism, in every guise, she has toughened herself
to face life's challenges. But it is her black identity that has emerged as
the soul within her work. She rejoices in her colour and rejoices in colour.
Her search for identity within the black South African youth, is no
nostalgic trip down memory lane, but rather a buoyant leap at the crest of
the wave of youth which captures
the energy, the dynamism, the joy of a youth determined to find its own
expression. It is the raw energy of her work that attracts me.
 Sudharak Olwe:
 Olwe's photographs have a Dickensian construction that reflect the
complexities of the lives he portrays. Fine detail. Frames crammed with
information. Seemingly superfluous data spilling over the rim of the frame.
Photographs charged with an energy that perhaps talk of the people he
portrays. People who eke out everything they can from a life that has had
the nutrients pulled out a long time ago. With visual elements jostling for
space, Olwe's multilayered images reflect the layered hierarchy of a class
and caste system that have permanently relegated those in the bottom of the
rung. A rung is perhaps a deceptive metaphor, as a ladder suggests the
ability to climb. For Olwe's characters, there is no exit. No happy ending.
Tomorrow is no different from today. So the characters themselves, squeeze
every inch out of life. Ironically, in dealing with a life with very limited
options, they live life to the full. Much as the frames of Olwe's
 Abir Abdullah:
 There are few photographers I have come across who have maintained as high
a level of integrity as Abir Abdullah. I have observed him as a student, as
a fellow photographer, as a colleague, a fellow tutor and a friend. At all
stages, he has been exemplary in the way he has upheld the values that
photojournalists live by.
 A fine photographer, Abir is also a sensitive individual whose work
reflects the attachment he has for his subjects. Though he is currently
employed as a wire photographer, his approach has never been superficial,
and he has relied on his ability to build relationships with his subjects.
 It is this sensitivity, and the respect that he has for people that I feel
comes through in Abir's work, and is eventually the underlying strength of
his photography.
 Shehzad Noorani:
 Noorani's life has shaped much of what he photographs. A child worker who
got caught raiding a neighbour's kitchen for food, is an unlikely candidate
for a successful career in photography. But statistics are very poor at
predicting life as it unfolds. A need to feed the family led to Shehzad
having to ensure that the money kept flowing in. This he did with consummate
ease by being one of those rare photographers who always deliver on time, to
specification and to highly exacting standards. This thorough professional
however, is also a skilled artist, who has combined his human skills with a
wonderful eye that finds things other eyes may have missed. It is the
subaltern that Shehzad has photographed, but not through pitiful eyes, or
some romantic notion of charity, but through a genuine understanding of what
being poor is. His tenacity, his ability to push himself and his unusual
duality between the disciplined professional and the gifted artist, makes
Shehzad special.
 Dear Shahidul:
We would like to thank you for taking the time to send in your nominations
for the 2005 class of the *All** Roads Photographers Program*. On Monday
July 18th four Awardees, and five Honorable Mentions were selected from a
very talented and diverse pool of nominees. As a matter of fact, having five
Honorable mentions is a testimony to the high quality of the photoessays.
The final awardees are: *Marcela Taboado*: Women of Clay (Mexico); *Sudharak
Olwe*: In search of Dignity and justice: the untold story of Mumbai's
conservancy workers* *(India); *Neo Ntsoma* South African Youth ID ? Kwaito
Culture (South Africa); and *Andre Cypriano*: Rocinha, An Orphan Town (
And the honorable mentions are: *Shehzad Noorani:* The Children of Black
Dust ? That child who wants to live (Bangladesh), *Abir Abdullah*: Old Dhaka
(We were born here and will die here?) (Bangladesh) , *Walter
Mesquita:*Viva Favela Project (BrazilMahalla,)
*Rena Effendi:* Faces of Change (Azerbaijan) , *
Gia Chkhatarashvili:* Ushguli, A Village at a Crossroad (Rep. of Georgia)
We were most pleased with the nominations and encourage you to please start
thinking of qualified photographers for next year!
 Warm Regards,
Chris Rainier and Eduardo Abreu
All Roads Photographers Program

Chobi Mela III Ends

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Well, Chobi Mela III is coming to an end. One of the artists visiting Chobi Mela III was the celebrated Mexican photographer, Pedro Meyer. Pedro is also the editor of one of the most popular websites on photography <http://www.zonezero.com/> www.zonezero.com. It is apt that the editorial on zonezero today, the final day of Chobi Mela III, talks about his visit to the festival. Extracts from the editorial where Pedro talks both of his experience in Dhaka and his feelings about the festival follow. The full text is available at: http://www.zonezero.com/editorial/editorial.html
Bangladesh is according to economists, one of the poorest countries in the world. However, statistics tend to also obscure other aspects of life that seem to get lost in such descriptions as “among the poorest in the world”. I found that the people in Bangladesh are among the friendliest I have ever met any place, nothing to say that they must be the biggest enthusiast of having their picture taken that exists on the face of this earth. Probably the most efficient way of getting on with life is, how it is dealt with, in this very poor nation.
This event (Chobi Mela) here, is one of the largest of it’s kind in Asia. Bringing photographers and their work to the forefront during the two weeks of this festival. I have met photographers from all over the region, and I am sure that as this festival grows over the coming years, Bangladesh will increasingly become a major center for the development of photography. And what better place to have such an event than a city, where to such a large extent, photography is welcomed by the population.
Pedro Meyer left day before yesterday, Raghu Rai left yesterday, Ozcan Yurdalan left this morning, while Zhuang Wubin is still out there somewhere in Sylhet. The exhibitions by Morten Krogvold, Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski, Srinivas Kuruganti (Alliance Fran?aise), John Lambrichts (Goethe Insitut), Raghu Rai (Drik Gallery One), Darren Soh, Student?s of Morten?s workshop, Zhuang Wubin and Chris Yap (Drik Rooftop Gallery) all end today. We will arrange separate showings for ?Bridging East and West?, by Saudi Aramco World, which was held up by customs, and the exhibition by students of Barbara Stauss at a later date. Those of you who cannot make it to the galleries should give your eyes a feast at <http://www.chobimela.org/> www.chobimela.org.
Shahidul Alam

Chobi Mela III in 2nd Week

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I Will Not

Today on Earth Day we are celebrating by making promises
But I will not
I will not stop throwing paper on the ground.
I will not stop using plastic bags
I will not go to clean the beaches
I will not stop polluting
I will not do all these things because I am not polluting the world
It is the grown-ups who are dropping bombs
It is the grown-ups who have to stop
One bomb destroys more than all the paper & plastic that I can throw in
all my life
It is the grown-ups who should get together and talk to each other
They should solve problems and stop fighting and stop wars
They are making acid rain and a hole in the ozone layer
I will not listen to the grown-ups!
[Student of class five of Karachi High School on Earth Day 1991].
Other forms of resistance can be seen in the second week of Chobi Mela III, the biannual festival of photography in Asia. While the evening presentations (http://www.chobimela.org/schedule.htm), the workshops by Chris Yap, Barbara Stauss, Pedro Meyer, Rupert Grey, Dick Doughty, Morten Krokvold and Liz Wells, as well as some of the exhibitions are already over, Peter Fryer’s workshop is still ongoing, and Raghu Rai’s workshop is yet to start. Numerous exhibitions are also ongoing, including the open air shows at the Abahani Park, and the hugely popular mobile exhibitions traveling all over Dhaka.
Besides the Chobi mela website www.chobimela.org <http://www.chobimela.org/> where daily updates are available, those of you who couldn’t make it to Dhaka should look up Tay Kay Chin’s visual diary at www.eastpix.com <http://www.eastpix.com/> . As for the all night river cruise, sorry there are no substitutes.
Thanks to all the volunteers, the teams at Sketch, Ikon, Pathshala and Drik, the Prince Claus Fund, the partners, associate partners and the organizations who provided institutional support. Chobi Mela III could never have been realized without your active support.
Special thanks to Chris Yap for making the wonderful prints, Peter Bakker of TNT for getting Morten Krogvold’s exhibition over, Dr. Hashemi for providing the Entifadha posters, and NTV, Channel I and The New Nation for providing excellent media coverage. Thanks also to Rob White and his team at LCC for their brave try at video conferencing and Yutaka Ohira for his excellent work behind the scenes.