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

The Statesman, and the Photographer

The statesman, and the photographer

by Shahidul Alam

Photographer Rashid Talukder and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (photographer unknown)/Drik archives
LOOKING at this photograph, one of the few in our library where the photographer is unknown, I realise how times have changed. This is the undisputed leader of a country with his arms across the shoulder of a newspaper photographer not known for being affiliated to his party.
No security guards, no party goons, no chamchas. Both men are at ease with the situation. The smiles, the casual gait, Rashid Bhai with his camera dangling, a single prime lens. Not even a camera bag (and this was the time of film when you only had 36 exposures). How times have changed. Sure, we live in a more security conscious world, but the distance between the leaders of today, and the people, isn?t simply about changed situations, it is about changed attitudes. Today the proximity between leaders and the people surrounding them has much more to do with business and benefits, than with humility and largesse. There was much more give and much less take. Continue reading “The Statesman, and the Photographer”

Chasing Windmills

AZIZUR RAHIM PEU, born 10th June 1964, died 14 October 2014

Azizur Rahim Peu
Azizur Rahim Peu

?If you let me go, I?ll kill myself.? I?d never given a job to anyone before. So this response to my suggestion that there was a better future for him elsewhere, was something I wasn?t prepared for. I had returned to Bangladesh after having been away for twelve years. Not having the capital myself, I had set up a photographic studio in partnership with a businessman cum photographer Khan Mohammad Ameer and his businessmen brothers. The studio ?Fotoworld? was posh, and we photographed the glitterati. We also took pictures of factories, the odd milk powder tin, food, cigarette cartons and pretty much anything people would pay us (and sometimes not pay us) to shoot. Azizur Rahim Peu was my first recruit. I?d come to know him through the Bangladesh Photographic Society, where I was the general secretary and had taken an immediate liking to the young man. Continue reading “Chasing Windmills”

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”

Photojournalism Resources

As is often the case, a very North American/European bias. But still a useful list

Photojournalism Resources

A.M Qattan Foundation: Founded in 1994, the A.M. QATTAN FOUNDATION is a UK-registered charity focusing on two principal areas, culture and education.
American Press Institute: Founded by newspaper publishers in 1946, the American Press Institute is the oldest and largest center devoted solely to training and professional development for the news industry and journalism educators.
Arab Image Foundation: The Arab Image Foundation aims to promote photography in the Middle East and North Africa by locating, collecting, and preserving the region’s photographic heritage. Continue reading “Photojournalism Resources”

Meta-narrative: Fred Ritchin on the future of photojournalism

By Fred Ritchin in British Journal of Photography

balazs-gardi-bending-the-frame
Photographer Balazs Gardi co-created the experimental media project Basetrack, which documents the deployment of the 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, at Combat Outpost 7171 in Helmand, Afghanistan. Image ? Balazs Gardi / Basetrack.org
Ensuring the future of photojournalism rests in more complex narrative formats, believes Fred Ritchin, who spoke with Laurence Butet-Roch ahead of the release of his new essay, Bending the Frame Continue reading “Meta-narrative: Fred Ritchin on the future of photojournalism”

Tragedy and the Role of Professional Photojournalists

by Alex Garcia of Chicago Tribune

Pages
Newspaper pages from around the world speak to the international interest in the Boston Marathon tragedy. A collection of front pages can be viewed at the?Newseum website.?
It?s hard to write about any other photojournalism topic given what happened in Boston yesterday. Awful. The announcement of the photojournalism Pulitzers, dominated by the immense tragedy of the Syrian conflict, had the majesty of a clip contest. Continue reading “Tragedy and the Role of Professional Photojournalists”

Upcoming Deadlines for Grants, Fellowships Up to $10,000

Deadlines for some big grants are approaching.

Inge Morath Award
Administered by the Magnum Foundation, the Inge Morath Award of $5,000 is given annually to a female photojournalist under the age of 30. The Award supports the completion of a long-term documentary project, and is juried by Magnum photographers and the director of the Inge Morath Foundation.
Deadline: April 30.
www.ingemorath.org/index.php/2013/01/the-inge-morath-award-2013-guidelines/
Getty Grants for Editorial Photography
Starting April 1, Getty will be accepting applications for its 2013 Grants for Editorial Photography. Five grants of $10,000 each will be awarded to photojournalists ?pursuing projects of personal and journalistic significance.? Deadline: May 1.
imagery.gettyimages.com/getty_images_grants/overview.aspx
The Aaron Siskind Foundation
The Aaron Siskind Foundation offers grants of up to $10,000 each to individual photographers, selected by a panel of judges. The entry fee is $10.? Applications are open to US citizens and legal permanent residents 21 years of age and older, and there is no requirement regarding subject matter, genre or process, except that the work must involve photography (no video).? Deadline: May 24.
aaronsiskind.org/grant.html
W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography
Each year the W. Eugene Smith Fund awards a grant (in 2012, the award was $30,000) to a photographer whose past work and proposed project follow the tradition of W. Eugene Smith?s concerned photography and dedicated compassion. The board of trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Fund appoints a three-member jury to evaluate written proposals and photos. There is a $50 application fee. Deadine: End of May.
smithfund.org/eugene-smith-grant

Just Make It Happen: Kenneth Jarecke on Paulo Pellegrin's award winning photo on WPP contest

By Kenneth Jarecke

Paolo Pellegrin is one of the most successful photographers working today. He works with the most high-profile magazines, he publishes books, is a member of the most prestigious photo agency (Magnum), contributes to interesting projects and regularly wins major contests. So naturally, he?s easy enough to hate.

Still, until his work was called into question last week by BagNews Notes, it?s fair to say he was also widely respected.
Predictably, Pellegrin is catching most of this heat from people he doesn?t know, while receiving most of his support from people he does. Which makes me wonder, not knowing him, but having admired his work for a long time and owning at least one of his books (maybe more), what kind of advice I would have given him last Friday when the story first broke. Continue reading “Just Make It Happen: Kenneth Jarecke on Paulo Pellegrin's award winning photo on WPP contest”

OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS TO THE OTHER HUNDRED

The Other Hundred Flyer sm
The Forbes 100, the Fortune 500, Bloomberg?s Billionaire Index, the list of rich lists is endless.? But the super-rich are only a very small fraction of the population, and their story is not the whole story. It is this other story that we would like to tell in The Other Hundred, a photo-book aimed at bringing attention to the overwhelming majority of the world?s people who are not billionaires but who nevertheless lead lives worth celebrating.
The Other Hundred has a broad base of international support from the expertise of our outstanding judging panel featuring Ruth Eichhorn, Richard Hsu, and Stephen Wilkes and the participation of excellent photographers including Benjamin Lowy,?Khaled Hasan,?Brent Stirton,?Edwin Koo, Paolo Woods?and?Andrea Diefenbach.
The goal of The Other Hundred is both to inform and to provoke thought. This means that we don?t just want photographs of the hardships of a life of poverty, but also of the startling achievements people can make in the face of adversity. It is important to us that our subjects come across as real people to be understood, even celebrated, rather than anonymous statistics to be pitied or patronised.
Each submission may be a single photograph or a series of photographs. This is a global endeavor, and we welcome submissions from any and every country and continent.
For submission information, please visit www.theotherhundred.com.