Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi photojournalist, teacher, and social activist. A TIME “Person of the Year”, he is celebrated for his commitment to using his craft to preserve democracy in his country at all costs. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/clients/2019-icp-infinity-awards-shahidul-alam
Interview with Shahidul Alam by Daniel Boetker-Smith
In one of his first major interviews since the events of late last year, Alam talks to Daniel Boetker-Smith about the upcoming festival, the political power of photography, and the state of the medium in Bangladesh, South Asia and beyond.
DBS: Given recent events that we have all followed closely, how has planning for this Festival been different to previous years?
SA: The last few months have meant that this year’s festival is coming back to its roots. Chobi Mela began as a very small event, and over the past 20 years it grew significantly in stature. But this year, we are activating a diverse range of less formal exhibition venues around Dhaka. This shift is one of necessity, because Chobi Mela is not an organization that everyone in Bangladesh wants to work with at the moment—we are seen as dangerous. A lot of previous supporters and sponsors of the festival are businesses in Dhaka, and right now they are being tested. They know that their decisions are being monitored and that there is high level of government surveillance surrounding the event. Because of this, we have had to be more inventive, finding new ways to show work, utilizing different types of exhibition and event spaces for photographers and audiences. Some public venues and government-owned buildings are no longer available to us, and we are choosing to see this as an opportunity to move away from the traditional ‘white cube’ mode of presentation, to a much more raw and community-oriented festival. Continue reading “There’s Power in Photography: The Undying Resilience of Dhaka’s Chobi Mela Festival”
Tribute video for 2018 Lucie Awards Honoree Shahidul Alam for the Humanitarian Award.
Presented at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Sunday October 28th 2018. Presented and Received by Gayatri Spivak.
28TH JANUARY 2016??/??
Shahidul Alam has long been gripped by the life of a woman he has never met.
It?s been two decades since Kalpana Chakma was abducted, but Shahidul refuses to forget her. Standing at the threshold of his latest exhibition,Kalpana?s Warriors, the Bangladeshi photographer pauses for a moment.
In the room beyond is the third in a series of photo exhibitions that began with Searching for Kalpana Chakma in 2013, and was followed by 18 in 2014. The woman around whom these pictures revolve is notably absent from them. She was abducted at gunpoint in the early hours of 12 June 1996 from her home in Rangamati in Bangladesh. Her captors were a group of plain-clothed men who were recognised as being from a nearby army camp. Kalpana never returned home and her fate remains unknown.
When the exhibition first opened at the Drik Gallery in Dhaka, many of those who had been photographed could not risk coming out of hiding, yet the room was full of people who knew Kalpana?s story intimately. Some simply stood for a while before the portraits, others wept. Continue reading “Kalpana's Warriors in Delhi”
?By Manik Katyal Emaho Magazine
Emaho got into a free-wheeling t?te-?-t?te with the legendary award-winning Bangladeshi photographer, Shahidul Alam to pry beyond his politics
Manik: In all your past interviews, you have mentioned how photography happened to you, so I will not ask that question, but what is photography for you? And your relationship with politics?
Shahidul: I am a very political animal and the reason I took up photography was because of my political position. Being concerned about the social situation in my country and globally, I happened to stumble into photography and discovered what a powerful tool it was; which happens to be the only reason why I practice it. I am fond of photography, I enjoyed images but at the end of the day that for me is not the point of the exercise. I continued to use photography in whatever way I can. Largely because, I see the strength of the medium and I recognise the potential. Having said that I think ? I have said this before ? that if tomorrow it ceases to effective, I?ll have no qualms about giving it up and taking something new.
Continue reading “Establishment Earthquaker”
Military’s sole role has been repression
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Interview on 22nd February 2013, where he talks about the Shahbagh movement, his recent exhibition at Oitijjo in the South Bank in London and his upcoming exhibition on the disappearance of Kalpana Chakma.
Even the pit stop in Dhaka is threatened by Jamaat’s hartal tomorrow. I am hoping it will be even more of a flop than previous ones. Those of you who missed the interview in BBC (1:09 into the programme where I talk about Shahbagh). Look out for the oped in New York Times on Friday and the interview on Listening Post in Al Jazeera on Saturday.
Here are some pictures taken on my way back:
It’s a hard life. On the rare occasions when I get bumped up to business class.
My plane waiting at the boarding gate
Sunny afternoon in Salzburg
Interviewed by Manik Katyal: Emaho Magazine
Emaho caught up with celebrated French curator and photographer Christian Caujolle to see the view from his rarefied space.
Manik: It?s been more than 26 years roughly that you have started your career as a photo editor with Liberation and then you started curating; how has the journey and experience been so far?
Christian: I think that the first thing is that for different reasons the environment of photography and then the content?the aesthetics of photography radically changed. Let?s say that there are two main points which made those changes radical. One is the crisis of media business in printed paper and the second one is the invention of technology with the invention of development and coming of digital image. So the result in one way is a fact that the traditional media are in economic trouble but also may be conceptual trouble. As a consequence on what was the main or more visible area of photography from the 50s-80s, which was information, information with mostly photojournalism and part of documentary. That doesn?t means that photojournalism died, that means it?s no more at its top; that means that documentary photography, I will say in tradition which is an old tradition including from the beginning of 20th century when someone as Sander became more important than before in and after? there are big changes in the perception of photography with the development of the functionality of books, the exhibitions. Continue reading “Space Invader ? Christian Caujolle”