As Drik As Possible

Climate_MigrantsThe dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary. In god we trust
My partner Rahnuma Ahmed often got roped in when we were short-staffed, which was often. That was 25 years ago. Little experience and zero cash rarely got in the way: we started publishing from day one. Postcards, bookmarks (often using offcuts from the press) and even a company calendar were produced by friendly printers who printed on credit. Residents of Bangladesh?s capital, Dhaka, used to seeing flowers, pretty women, mosques and waterfalls, suddenly woke up to social messages in black and white on their wall calendars. It worked, and we were able to sell them door-to-door and pay back the printers ? until there was a flood and half our stock got inundated.
My Garden in the WildsTired of being pitied for our poverty, and do-gooder attempts to ?save? us, we had decided to become our own storytellers. And did we have stories to tell! Our agency Drik, grew, and we picked up many loyal friends and several powerful enemies along the way. Knowing we had to compete with better-resourced entities in the West, we set up the nation?s first email network using Fidonet. Banglarights, our human rights portal, annoyed the government; our telephone lines were switched off for 30 months. Mainstream galleries turned down exhibitions which were shamelessly political and often critical of the establishment, so we built our own. The government sent riot police to close down our shows on several occasions. Being stabbed in the street, arrested, and generally persecuted became some of the more troubling after-effects of our activism, but a nationwide campaign to reopen our gallery, and a court ruling in our favour, convinced us that the person on the street was on our side. That was all the ammunition we needed. Ballakot Rubble 8246
Along the way, we had set up a photo school, Pathshala, now recognized as being among the finest in the world. We also set up a photo festival, Chobi Mela. Again, a highlight of the Asian cultural calendar. Geed up by what we?d achieved in Bangladesh, we set our sights on challenging the global world order. Majority World was born, a platform for local photographers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with their own stories to tell.
Rescue OperationActivism didn?t pay the bills though and competing in the market place, often with professionals we ourselves had trained, required us to remain cutting edge. Clients cared less for ?good intentions? than they did for good delivery and value for money. It was comforting therefore when a prestigious international client, mentioned in the ?special instruction? section that she wanted the work to be ?As Drik as possible.? Call me Heena
As the organisation grew, we needed better management, stricter controls, increased efficiency and lower costs. This led to a culture shift which didn?t come easily to a group that had grown up like a family and had gotten used to working in a particular way. Our new CEO reminded us, that producing the perfect product was gratifying, but getting it to market on time and within budget, was just as important.
Meeting man's greedDrik today is a role model for the majority world, but a world that is changing. Twenty five years ago, it made sense to start from the ground up. Today we tap into fine professionals we ourselves have groomed, and take them to the international arena. Long term strategy, succession plans and a more global vision are the concerns of the day. It?s a lean, agile and creative organisation run by a younger team, ready for tomorrow. Rejoicing at Ershad's fall
Drik?s ultimate strength however, has been the people who have rallied around us. This includes the people who work here, but goes way beyond it. People, all across the globe, across all conventional barriers, who have believed in us, and stood by us, in the many difficult moments we?ve shared, through many dark nights and days. We owe our very survival to them. Some we have lost forever. Others have stayed away from the limelight, happy to bask in our success from afar. While they have never wanted or expected anything in return, we shall remain indebted to them. This publication is a tribute to them all.
Those we have loved and lost
See as slideshare
All credits and supplementary text available in Flickr page

As Drik as Possible

Introduction to the Drik 2016 calendar.

A behind the scenes glimpse at a remarkable media phenomenon:

The dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Md. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a western magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary.

Continue reading “As Drik as Possible”

Majority World exhibition in Rome: Justice in Focus

IDLO Photo Exhibition in Rome
Farnesina Porte Aperte 2015
22 – 29 May 2015

justice in focus in rome

IDLO’s photo exhibition “In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda” will form part of this year’s initiative by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to open its doors to the general public. From 22 until 29 May 2015, visitors will be able to participate in “Farnesina Porte Aperte” and view the exhibition during guided tours of the building. The Farnesina’s art collection is internationally recognized, and IDLO is proud to have been chosen to exhibit alongside this.

The photographs were also featured by The Guardian.
guardian piece on justice in focus

Curated by IDLO and the photo agency Majority World, the exhibition focuses on the challenges of development and the rule of law. From gender equality and indigenous rights to energy poverty and land tenure, it presents the rule of law as lived experience. The pictures vividly explore the human side of the rule of law and its importance in everyday life.
 
?In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda? illustrates these themes through 32 images – taken by photographers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Kenya – ranging from the Amazonian settlement of Colniza, Brazil, where rule of law measures have reversed illegal logging and deforestation, to the energy-starved metropolis of Kibera, Africa?s largest slum.
 
To sign up for a guided tour, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation?s Farnesina Porte Aperte website and choose the ?art route?, currently available from Monday 25 until Wednesday 27 May.
Before traveling to Rome, the exhibition was shown at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, to coincide with the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Over the coming months, it will be shown in Milan, New York, Washington and The Hague, and will return to Rome for an exclusive viewing in November.
 
For more information, please read this article in Italy’s Corriere della Sera,?visit theIDLO mini-site and watch video interviews?with the photographers.

The valley of Bhaktapur


Growing up in Kathmandu was magical. At the time, literally a small quaint Kingdom. A home with a small cow shed and an orchard in the backyard. A larger than life tree towering over an old temple, stretching it’s long arms over the entire neighbourhood. At dawn the sounds of brobdingnagian temple bells, struck loud enough to invoke the gods from their sleep. All that against the backdrop of a cacophony of the zillion birds that lived on this tree. Giant wheel chariots, living goddesses and royal processions. The infamous Titaura (local sweet and spicy candy) for which would endeavour any Everest. Demons and Yeti’s were still real and come autumn, the breeze would fill the skies with kites. Not a day went by without adventure.
Photo by @sumitdayal
#nepalphotoproject?#nepalearthquake?#bhaktapur#nepal

Global Photography Exhibition Opens at UN Rights Council Meeting

Photographs Humanize Rule of Law and Access to Justice

Photographers: Kabir Dhanji, Lucas Lenci, Shehzad Noorani, Vicky Roy, Farzana Wahidy
Curator: Shahidul Alam
?In Focus: Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda,? a photo exhibition on the challenges of development and the rule of law by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and Majority World photo agency, launches on the 2nd March 2015?during the opening of the UN Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva.
IDLO_Photo Exhib 2015_Booklet_WEB FINAL_Page_01 800 pix
Continue reading “Global Photography Exhibition Opens at UN Rights Council Meeting”

Drik's 25th Anniversary

The dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary.
Screenshot 2014-09-04 13.14.44
The New Internationalist Magazine in Oxford, has been a long time friend and supporter. This two page spread was put together by them to commemorate Drik’s 25th anniversary. Thanks NI. Continue reading “Drik's 25th Anniversary”

Pathshala student again wins Ian Parry Award

Pathshala student Farzana Hossen declared winner of the prestigious Ian Parry Scholarship at the?Visa Pour L?Image, Perpignan, France

2013 Winner / Farzana Hossen / Pathshala / Bangladesh


FarzanaHossen
Farzana Hossen 2013 Winner
?Without a doubt, this is the strongest set of images and written text that we have seen today. I get a clear sense that Farzana has an invested interest in conveying the horror of these attacks. Congratulations to all those who entered on undeniably strong work? Don McCullin,?Patron.
?I am delighted that the judges have chosen another strong winning entry this year, both in terms of the importance of the subject and Farzana?s remarkable personal story that brought
her to approach it.? Aidan Sullivan Founder, IPS.
Magda_Rakita
Magda Rakita 2013 Highly Commended
Kazi_Riasat
Kazi Riasat Alve 2013 Commended<
MehranHamrahi
Mehran Hamrahi 2013 Commended
?One of the most rewarding experiences of judging this year?s award was seeing the explosion of work being submitted from foreign photographers, particularly Asia. I was impressed with
the standard and professionalism on display and how these photographers approached important social issues in their locality? Simon Roberts, Judge and former winner.
The judges felt that Farzana?s winning portfolio ?Lingering Scars? communicated an intensely personal story with brave and intelligent visual story telling of great strength and depth of composition. In Bangladesh, reports of violence against women are on the rise. Oftentimes, it takes the form of acid attacks, which are estimated to occur every two days, the majority of sufferers being female.
We received an unprecedented level of entries again this year, the standard was higher and applicants younger than ever before. Our judging is done as a process of elimination, so portfolios are removed from each round depending on their strength as a potential winner. The final round of portfolios from institutions like Pathshala, Danish School of Journalism, LCC UK, Westminster UK, Ohio USA, Falmouth UK, Newport and Azad University of Ahvaz, showed such flair and extraordinary vision that the judges found it difficult to select just four finalists.
Ian Parry was a photojournalist who died while on assignment for The Sunday Times during the Romanian revolution in 1989. That was 20 years ago, he was just 24 years of age. Aidan Sullivan, then picture editor at the Sunday Times, created the Ian Parry Scholarship with Ian?s friends and family in order to build something positive from such a tragic death.
This is the second time in three years that a Pathshala student has won this prestigious award. The 2011 award was won by Rasel Chowdhury with his work “Desperate Urbanisation“.
Farzana is a contributing photographer to the Majority World Agency. Her work was recently shown at the Guardian Gallery in London.

Wresting the Narrative From the West

By?JAMES ESTRIN?New York Times
As far as Shahidul Alam is concerned, he does not live in the third world or the developing world. While the photographer?s home is in Bangladesh, a decidedly poor country, he thinks of himself as residing in ?the majority world.?
Boy playing with home made ball, in shelter built for earthquake victims in Pakistan. ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Boy playing with home made ball, in shelter built for earthquake victims in Pakistan. ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Most people today do not live in Europe or North America, or have white skin. Yet the world?s economy and media are dominated by a handful of Western countries, and the reporting on developing nations is not always done by people who know their subjects well. Continue reading “Wresting the Narrative From the West”

New Images from Majority World

MWC023632 2

You can now purchase the latest FairMail cards taken by underprivileged Indian and Peruvian teenagers at Majority World. FairMail offers them photography training, part-time work, medical insurance and guidance in making their future plans.? Continue reading “New Images from Majority World”

Inspiring a Better Future

The only thing more amazing than our technology is what the world does with it

Intel Corporation USA signs contract with Majority World CIC to document Intel’s CSR projects in Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, UK, Poland, Kenya, India and Hongkong.
One or more Intel employees volunteer at these project locations. The employees recently won an internal contest winning their project a technology package to help the projects more effectively achieve their goals. This assignment is about telling the project story, Intel’s effort and capturing the humanity of it through a Photo Journal.
Watch this space for updates on our photographers at each location.

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