Profile

As a journalist, your only space is at the edge. You have to be constantly feeling the heat. Go back one more step, and you may cease to be effective. There are no safe options, and no prizes for popularity and if you’re not making certain people uncomfortable by your presence, you are probably doing something wrong. The struggle for change is a never-ending process that requires you to be constantly alert, and forever swimming against the current. It is a lonely, stressful, tiring and immensely gratifying journey

Shahidul Alam

shahidul-in-florence0016-low.jpg
Photo: Fariha Karim

A Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. Alam’s documentation contributed to the ouster of autocratic general Hussain Muhammad Ershad. Former president of Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Bangladesh Photographic Institute, Chobi Mela festival, Majority World agency and Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world.

Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, Tate Modern London and Museum of Contemporary Arts Tehran, Alam has curated at Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery, National Art Gallery Malaysia, Musee de Quai Branly and Brussels Biennale. His awards include Shilpakala Padak, the highest state award given to Bangladeshi artists, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dali Festival in China and the National Institute of Design in India, the Lucie Foundation Humanitarian Award and the ICP Infinity Special Presentation Award. He is also the 2020 recipient of the International Press Freedom Award given by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

A chair of World Press Photo international jury, Alam has spoken at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities. He is Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society and Visiting Professor of Sunderland University.

John Morris described his book “My journey as a witness” as “The most important book ever written by a photographer”. A blogger and a new media pioneer, Alam introduced email to Bangladesh. Described by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, Alam was arrested in August 2018, for criticising the Bangladeshi government, but was released on bail after over 100 days in jail after a massive global campaign for his release.

Alam’s retrospective “Truth to Power” is showing at the Rubin Museum in New York. His new book “The Tide Will Turn” by Steidl, with photographs by Alam and pioneering Bangladeshi photographers and text by text by Arundhati Roy and Alam has received critical acclaim.

51 thoughts on “Profile”

  1. Being a resident of a small town in the UK, it was refreshing to see your face in the introductory page of NI. It’s an informative journal, and I try to buy it whenever I get the chance. I bought it today, so I look forward to reading it.

  2. Shahidul Alam,
    I am really impressed with your Photograph amazing photos. Please if you could send me an e-mail so we both can share some news with each other. Keep up the good work. I really enjoyed reading your web site great posting looking forward to see you one day soon in Dhaka.
    Regards
    Bob Chowdhury.!

  3. Sir,
    My name is Amit currently working for a magazine in Mumbai. I want seek guidance in respect to some photo projects I have undertaken and want to send you some pictures that I have taken for your valuable comments.
    It will be nice of you if you can send me your contacts so that I can send my pictures across to you for your views.
    ThanX

  4. Dear Mr. Alam,
    I heard about you and your brave team who worked for so many dared area like Afganistan, Pakistan and so many places in the world.
    Am one of fan of your Drik organisation and also your working process.
    I would be happy if i could join your team and could wotk with you.
    Thanks and regards.
    Cadi.

  5. i was going through your photography and had ammaised by the view you have in your mind and your lance have, wonderful, briliant, such a talent to put things up.
    NMR

  6. Mr. Alam,
    Your pictures are compelling and beautiful.
    I’m a videojournalist for Current TV in the U.S. and the UK, and we’re desperately trying to find videographers in the area who can shoot some video and interviews in the devastated areas. Do you know anyone who can help us with this? We do offer compensation for the product.
    Thanks for your significant contribution to the coverage of such a tragedy.

  7. Hello jaahed chaachaa !
    Gosh… your pictures are amazing… too bad I never get to come over to drik to check them out! Keep up the blog work… itz so cool to have bloggers in the Family 😀
    take care!

  8. Hi dear friend
    I am really happy to see ur website. Congratulation. More over ,different information in the site has made it more reach. It might be a resource for the journalist like me. I will recommend my all friend to use this portal.
    I recalled the days in Lahore.
    Regards
    Sanjaya Neupane
    Nepal

  9. Hi Shahidul,
    We spoke at the Dutch Embassy in Dakar earlier this week, I finally took the time to go through your blog. For me, it was an interesting discussion.
    Funny to find out later, through your blog, who you are. The first hit on your name on Google was a Wikipedia article 🙂
    This being a small world, I’m pretty sure we’ll meet again.
    Very best regards,
    Cedric

  10. Hi Shahidul,
    This is Todd Lester of freeDimensional.org, I would like to encourage you to start a profile on our new community portal and then to cross post your newsletters there in a forum. Our community would like to know about your work AND there is a special group for photographers as well as a unique photography function by which you can show us some of the work of the agency and let our community learn about Drik.
    best,
    todd

  11. Dear Mr.Alam,
    I emailed you on your drik.net email ID on Sunday requesting to meet you in Bangalore this weekend. I’m a photographer based here.
    I don’t know whether you received that mail . I really hope to be able to meet you when you’re here. Is that possible?
    Is there a phone number where I can contact you to fix a meeting if you have some time when you’re in Bangalore?
    I’m really eager to meet you.
    Thanks
    Hari

  12. Shahidul,
    New York Times-e apnar lekhata aaj pore khub bhalo laglo. Ami Delhi-te Indian Express-e kaaj kori. Bhabchhilam apni jodi raaji hon, bhobishshote Bangladesh ba photography-r opor apnake likhte bolte pari ki na… Cheshta koreo apnake mail korte parlam na directly. Apnar email id-ta pele bhalo hoto.
    Dhonnobad,
    Sudeep Paul

  13. Correct History
    Thank you indeed for your correct information about protests at Shahbagh Intersection, Dhaka, Bangladesh. A 40-years Quest of Justice published as an Opinion Editorial in The New York Times on 28 February, 2013 reveals the facts, which are currently going on in the Bangladesh. As a citizen of Bangladesh and proponent of democratic and secular Bangladesh, I want that national media and international media both show a responsible journalism.
    ?? ??????|

  14. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for portraying the correct picture to the international media about what is going on in Bangladesh……..The THREE MILLION MARTYRS AND THE 300000 WOMEN WHO LOST THERE RESPECT salutes you………..PLEASE keep spreading these messages to the western world and make them support our nonviolence movement like Gandhi and Nelson Mandela ………thank you again………….Milton.N. Gomes

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