Bijon Sarker died today?

By Munem Wasif

Bijon Sarker died today.
When I heard he had an accident, I was at Pathshala. Suddenly I didn?t know what to do, whom to call. I though of calling Popi da his son, but we weren’t on good terms since Bijon da?s interview in Kamra. It was hard for me.

@ Munem Wasif/ Beauty Boarding
Came back home and found scroll news on tv screens that Bijon Sarker is severely injured. I called Chandan bhai, he was on his way to the hospital. We realized he would need lot of money for his treatment. I tried raising little money from students, friends, collogues, from Drik, from Pathshala. It was hard but we managed to raise a little money. Of course that was not enough. I went to hospital few times, there was nothing we could do. He was in ICU, alone.

@ Munem Wasif/ Beauty Boarding
Next day I had to fly to Cambodia. Saw the beautiful festival in Siem Reap, biked with friends in the countryside, had wonderful food in the streets. I came back after few weeks and got involved with so many things. Called Munni apa and Chandan bhai to get his update. But nothing much, Bijon da was still lying in his bed senseless.
Bijon da was one of the few photographers of his time who pushed the boundary of images while everybody else was busy making pretty photographs. He experimented in the darkroom and created images that we had never seen. He was concerned about the Bangladesh Photography Society. He missed Beg Shaheb as his companion. He was sad he didn?t manage to inspire the next generation of photographers to experiment and to learn to see the unseen. He was a poet who walked alone in the narrow streets of Old Dhaka. No body has written a feature about him in a newspaper, there was no book by him; his negatives have been eaten by ghun poka.

@ Bijon Sarker/ From BPS catalogue

@ Bijon Sarker/ From BPS catalogue
I promised him I would arrange a darkroom, papers and chemical, so he could start making photographs without a camera. He told me nobody must go to the darkroom; nobody could see his images before he had finished. Yes Bijon da I promised. I failed.

@ Munem Wasif/ Beauty Boarding
Bijon da died today; there were only a few people in Shahid Minar. We couldn?t manage a little more space for this artist to work. He was the?Man Ray?of Bengal.
Please Retweet #photography #Bangladesh #BPS #Pathshala #Drik

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

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