(Moved to


It feels strange to be called a ‘master’ when the ‘students’ are such hugely talented photographers. When it includes the inimitable grandmaster David Burnett in our midst the discomfort is complete.

dr-burnett-600px.jpg © Jan Grarup

It was a delight to be in his company again. Though I’ve always enjoyed his images, and we’ve been co-jurors of WPP, this was the first time we’d spent so much time together. The poster for the first ever Chobi Mela in 2000, with his iconic image of the Muktibahini, still hangs on Drik’s corridor. Poor Munem Wasif travelled all the way to Amsterdam only to find his bearded tutor again.
sirio_058.jpgsirio_013.jpgsirio_066.jpgsirio_065.jpgsirio_048.jpgsirio_077.jpgsirio_117.jpg © Sirio Magnabosco

But the pleasure of such company, the energy within those four walls and the sheer joy of seeing such wonderful images, made up for any qualms I might have had. David’s presentation was humbling. It’s candor, its warmth, the enormous breadth of his work and the unquestionable quality of the photography left me breathless.

the-war-we-forgot-1971-600px.jpg © David Burnett/Contact Press Images. Design Reza/Drik

The WPP awards for Christoph, Cédric and Rafel that came in yesterday, was a welcome bonus, but an expected one. This was photography at its finest and despite the vagaries of judging and the imperfections of any selection process, photography such as this must surely rise to the surface.

Oh to be a student again!


© Cédric Gerbehaye, Belgium, Agence Vu. Congo in Limbo. General News, 3rd Prize Stories. WPP contest 2007



© Rafal Milach, Poland, Anzenberger Agency. Retired circus artists, Poland. Arts and Entertainment, 1st Prize Stories. WPP contest 2007


© Christoph Bangert, Germany, Laif. German Army sniper practice target, Kunduz, Afghanistan, 27 April. General News Singles, Honourable Mention. WPP contest 2007

Joop Swart Masterclass 2007:


Shahidul Alam
Susan Bright
David Burnett
Ayperi Ecer
Jan Grarup
Barbara Stauss
Brian Storm


Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
Olivia Arthur
Christoph Bangert
Kate Brooks
Alexandra Demenkova: Sasha
Agnes Dherbeys
Cédric Gerbehaye
Sirio Magnabosco
Rafal Milach
Munem Wasif
Irina Werning
Xin Zhou

February 9, 2008 - Posted by | Photojournalism


  1. excellent photos .. thanks for sharing the spirit of the workshop with us, Shahidul.

    Comment by Jon Husband | February 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for shareing Alam Bhai. Wasif looks very happy in the photo and your happiness is felt in your words.

    I’m happy as well, just got and old issue of Nat Geo (Aug 95) and reading an article “Reel to Real” (about the photo assignments, ins and outs of National Geographic Assignments) by Cathy Newman.

    Comment by Hassan Bipul | February 10, 2008 | Reply

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