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Bangladeshi photographers win yet again!

G.M.B.Akash a student from Pathshala’s first batch wins first prize for his photo titled “Passengers without Ticket” in the prestigious Gordon Parks Photography Competition 2007. More work by Akash can be seen at and


Other winners include “A woman standing by her paraplegic husband” by Lisa Wiltse (2nd place)


“Touch of protection” by Olivier Asselin (3rd place)


“Loss” by Chris Zuppa (honorable mention)


Mom and me by Kenny Felt (honorable mention)


and “New Citizen” by Jim Gehrz (honorable mention)


More news on the contest available soon from The video of Chobi Mela IV can be seen at: The video “In Search of the Shade of the Banyan Tree” can be seen at: Thanks to Oliver and Angilee and UCLA International Institute for uploading the video, Asfia for the Banyan Tree song and to the large number of people who helped in the production of the videos.

Bangladeshi photographers have consistently shone internationally. Yet photography remains neglected by the Bangladeshi government. A bill passed in parliament in 1989, to open a department of photography in “Shilpakala Academy” the academy of fine and performing arts, has yet not been implemented. Even “Charukala Institute” the department of fine arts, lacks a photography course. Yet Dhaka is rapidly becoming one of the major capitals of photography and Chobi Mela, the festival of photography held in Dhaka is one of the major events in the Asian media calendar. It has often been the case that artists have only been recognised in our own soil once they have received international acclaim. Sadly, even outstanding international perfomance in the field of photography, does not appear to have woken up the fossils in the Bangladesh secretariat.

October 10, 2007 Posted by | News Archives | 4 Comments




The National Geographic Society’s All Roads Film Project recognizes and supports indigenous and underrepresented storytellers from around the world who are documenting their changing cultures and communities through photography and film. For the third consecutive year of this popular program, we present talented artists from Israel, Kashmir, Lapland, Mongolia, Nigeria, and the United States who have been selected by the National Geographic Society to present their work and reflect on ways their images and stories make connections that help create a more just and beautiful world. The All Roads photographers will be joined by Chris Rainier of the National Geographic Society and photographer Shahidul Alam, media activist and founder of the Drik photo agency in Bangladesh.


2007 Awardees

Altaf Qadri (Kashmir)

Kashmir: Paradise in Pain

Oded Balilty (Israel)

Along the Lines

Akintunde Akinleye (Nigeria)

The Troubles of a Blessed Country

A Yin (China, Inner Mongolia)

Highland Mongolian Life

Munem Wasif of Pathshala, received an honourable mention for his photo essay “Belongings”

Monday, October 1, 2007
Kresge Auditorium

Doors open at 6:00pm. Seating is limited, so please arrive early.

Please forward this announcement to anyone who may find it of interest.

Click here for more information about this event.


An Evening with Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass
Monday, October 8, 7:30pm in Memorial Auditorium
Free and Ticketed

For more information on these and other
Aurora Forum programs, please visit our website:

Aurora Forum at Stanford University

September 30, 2007 Posted by | News Archives | 2 Comments

Tales From A Globalising World: Launch of World Tour

Ten photographers illustrate selected aspects of globalization in Asia, North America, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Their stories express a single subject that can be comprehended only in the light of its constant transformation.

Together they create a whole, which is brought together in the exhibition.

is a collective project that draws its strength from its individual authors. By uniting diverse photographic perspectives and styles of expression, it combines various aspects of globalization into an image of the new reality that is shaping the world we live in.

Photographed by

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Ziyo Gafic, Philip Jones Griffiths, Tim Hetherington,
Thomas Kern, Bertien van Manen, Shehzad Noorani, Cristina Nuñez, Andreas
Seibert and Stephan Vanfleteren.

Conceived, curated and produced by

Daniel Schwartz

The show begins its international tour at Drik’s new gallery in Dhanmondi at 5:00 pm today (22nd September 2005) and will be the inaugural show at this exciting new venue. The exhibition will later go on to Cairo and Rome.

The guest of honour for the exhibition will be Professor Muzaffer Ahmad,
Trustee, Transparency International Bangladesh. Dr. Dora Rapold, the
honourable Ambassador of Switzerland in Bangladesh will be present as
the special guest.

The project is an initiative launched in 2002 by the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC)

September 22, 2005 Posted by | News Archives, Photography, Photojournalism | Leave a comment

Imaging Famine and other events

Born Aid 20. The Commission on Africa. Live 8. Make Poverty History. The G8 
Summit in Gleneagles. We are witnessing renewed debate about global poverty, 
disasters and development, especially in Africa. Coming two decades after 
the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980's the time is ripe for a 
reconsideration of the power and purpose of disaster pictures given the way 
the images of the Ethiopian famine spawned the original Band Aid/Live Aid 

 Imaging Famine is one of several intriguing events I'll be involved with in 
September 2005. The event in New York is not public, so I've left out the 
details, but I will be there in case anyone wants to meet up.

 5th and 6th September: Imaging Famine Conference

The Newsroom. Guardian. London. UK

contact: Dave Clark, Bolton University: dj at 

  *8th September: Panel Discussion: Imaging Development*

*Open University Campus, **Milton Keynes**. **UK***

*contact: Helen Yanacopulos, Open University: H.Yanacopulos at *

* *

 10th September: Symposium, A Critical Evaluation of Photographic 

Sunderland University. Sunderland. UK

contact: Bas Vroege, Paradox: Ebv at 

 12th – 14th September: New York

 17th and 19th September: 15th Videobrasil International
Electronic Art Festival

Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo. Brazil

contact: Luciana Gomide, Video Brasil: *fcfcom at* <>**


 22nd September: Launch of Internatioanal Touring Exhibition: Tales From a 
Globalising World

Drik Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh

contact: Rezaur Rahman, Drik: reza at

 24th September: National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival

Egyptian Theatre: Los Angeles. USA 

contact: Alexandra Nicholson, National Geographic: anichols at

 26th September: Presentation: "In Search of the Shade of the Banyan Tree"

UCLA. Los Angeles. USA

contact: Angilee Shah: angshah.asiamedia at

 29th September: Conference: Free Media
The Norwegian Institute of Journalism 

contact: Solberg Oona, MFA: oona.solberg at 
 It was Drik's birthday yesterday! Sweet Sixteen!
 Best wishes,
ps: we've started a data entry unit and are looking for work. So if you have 
any ideas...

September 5, 2005 Posted by | News Archives, Photojournalism issues | Leave a comment

Chobi Mela and Bangladeshi photographers excel at National Geographic

You may be forgiven for thinking that the results of the National Geographic All Roads project had been fixed by me. Two out of the four main awardees and two out of the five 
honourable mentions were from my list! Those of you who were here for Chobi 
Mela III will recognise the work of three of the photographers listed here. 
Shehzad was not involved in the festival, but has been a regular contributor 
to Drik for many years. Neo spent a year at Pathshala as a Fredskorpset 
participant. I am enclosing my introductions to the photographers that I had 
submitted to the National Geographic. 

 The festival opens at the Egyptian Theater in LA on the 21st September 2005. 
Or else you could come to the 2nd part of the festival at the National 
Geographic headquarters at Washington D.C. from the 29th September to the 1
st October. There is a morning seminar on the 30th. You will get to meet All 
Roads Advisory Board members, photo program awardees, magazine editors, 
filmmakers, and artists from around the world.

 The blurb from Geographic:

 Photographer Panel Discussion

*"Camera and Culture: The myth of objective documentation"*

Is documentary photography inherently objectifying? Can comprehensive 
documentation be done through non-native eyes? Is there an unspoken 
universal morality in documentary work? 

 Please join us for a candid and interactive panel discussion exploring 
these issues and more at both festival venues. Panelists will include *All** 
Roads Photographers Program 2005 Awardees*, world-renowned photographer *
Reza*, and award-winning International Editor & Curator *Shahidul Alam*; the 
discussion will be moderated by National Geographic Magazine, Senior Editor 
*John Echave*. 

Please see below for times at each location: 

Saturday September 24, 2-3:15 pm, Egyptian Theater 


Saturday Oct.1, 2-3:15 pm Grosvenor Auditorium

  And now the photographers:

 Neo Ntsoma: 

 Neo Ntsoma is a complex person. High strung, energetic, intense, 
passionate, laughing, crying, running, leaping, she is in the middle of 
everything and everywhere. A spring ready to uncoil. She is also deceptively 
perceptive. Having faced racism, in every guise, she has toughened herself 
to face life's challenges. But it is her black identity that has emerged as 
the soul within her work. She rejoices in her colour and rejoices in colour. 
Her search for identity within the black South African youth, is no 
nostalgic trip down memory lane, but rather a buoyant leap at the crest of 
the wave of youth which captures 

the energy, the dynamism, the joy of a youth determined to find its own 
expression. It is the raw energy of her work that attracts me.

 Sudharak Olwe:

 Olwe's photographs have a Dickensian construction that reflect the 
complexities of the lives he portrays. Fine detail. Frames crammed with 
information. Seemingly superfluous data spilling over the rim of the frame. 
Photographs charged with an energy that perhaps talk of the people he 
portrays. People who eke out everything they can from a life that has had 
the nutrients pulled out a long time ago. With visual elements jostling for 
space, Olwe's multilayered images reflect the layered hierarchy of a class 
and caste system that have permanently relegated those in the bottom of the 
rung. A rung is perhaps a deceptive metaphor, as a ladder suggests the 
ability to climb. For Olwe's characters, there is no exit. No happy ending. 
Tomorrow is no different from today. So the characters themselves, squeeze 
every inch out of life. Ironically, in dealing with a life with very limited 
options, they live life to the full. Much as the frames of Olwe's 

 Abir Abdullah:

 There are few photographers I have come across who have maintained as high 
a level of integrity as Abir Abdullah. I have observed him as a student, as 
a fellow photographer, as a colleague, a fellow tutor and a friend. At all 
stages, he has been exemplary in the way he has upheld the values that 
photojournalists live by. 

 A fine photographer, Abir is also a sensitive individual whose work 
reflects the attachment he has for his subjects. Though he is currently 
employed as a wire photographer, his approach has never been superficial, 
and he has relied on his ability to build relationships with his subjects. 

 It is this sensitivity, and the respect that he has for people that I feel 
comes through in Abir's work, and is eventually the underlying strength of 
his photography.

 Shehzad Noorani:

 Noorani's life has shaped much of what he photographs. A child worker who 
got caught raiding a neighbour's kitchen for food, is an unlikely candidate 
for a successful career in photography. But statistics are very poor at 
predicting life as it unfolds. A need to feed the family led to Shehzad 
having to ensure that the money kept flowing in. This he did with consummate 
ease by being one of those rare photographers who always deliver on time, to 
specification and to highly exacting standards. This thorough professional 
however, is also a skilled artist, who has combined his human skills with a 
wonderful eye that finds things other eyes may have missed. It is the 
subaltern that Shehzad has photographed, but not through pitiful eyes, or 
some romantic notion of charity, but through a genuine understanding of what 
being poor is. His tenacity, his ability to push himself and his unusual 
duality between the disciplined professional and the gifted artist, makes 
Shehzad special.

 Dear Shahidul: 

We would like to thank you for taking the time to send in your nominations 
for the 2005 class of the *All** Roads Photographers Program*. On Monday 
July 18th four Awardees, and five Honorable Mentions were selected from a 
very talented and diverse pool of nominees. As a matter of fact, having five 
Honorable mentions is a testimony to the high quality of the photoessays. 

The final awardees are: *Marcela Taboado*: Women of Clay (Mexico); *Sudharak 
Olwe*: In search of Dignity and justice: the untold story of Mumbai's 
conservancy workers* *(India); *Neo Ntsoma* South African Youth ID – Kwaito 
Culture (South Africa); and *Andre Cypriano*: Rocinha, An Orphan Town (

And the honorable mentions are: *Shehzad Noorani:* The Children of Black 
Dust – That child who wants to live (Bangladesh), *Abir Abdullah*: Old Dhaka 
(We were born here and will die here…) (Bangladesh) , *Walter
Mesquita:*Viva Favela Project (BrazilMahalla,)
*Rena Effendi:* Faces of Change (Azerbaijan) , *
Gia Chkhatarashvili:* Ushguli, A Village at a Crossroad (Rep. of Georgia) 

We were most pleased with the nominations and encourage you to please start 
thinking of qualified photographers for next year! 

 Warm Regards, 

Chris Rainier and Eduardo Abreu 
All Roads Photographers Program

July 29, 2005 Posted by | News Archives, Photography, Photojournalism | Leave a comment

Chobi Mela III Ends

Well, Chobi Mela III is coming to an end. One of the artists visiting
Chobi Mela III was the celebrated Mexican photographer, Pedro Meyer.
Pedro is also the editor of one of the most popular websites on
photography  <> It is apt that
the editorial on zonezero today, the final day of Chobi Mela III, talks
about his visit to the festival. Extracts from the editorial where Pedro
talks both of his experience in Dhaka and his feelings about the
festival follow. The full text is available at:

Bangladesh is according to economists, one of the poorest countries in
the world
. However, statistics tend to also obscure other aspects of
life that seem to get lost in such descriptions as "among the poorest in
the world". I found that the people in Bangladesh are among the
friendliest I have ever met any place, nothing to say that they must be
the biggest enthusiast of having their picture taken that exists on the
face of this earth
 Probably the most efficient way of getting on with
life is, how it is dealt with, in this very poor nation.

This event (Chobi Mela) here, is one of the largest of it's kind in
Asia. Bringing photographers and their work to the forefront during the
two weeks of this festival. I have met photographers from all over the
region, and I am sure that as this festival grows over the coming years,
Bangladesh will increasingly become a major center for the development
of photography. And what better place to have such an event than a city,
where to such a large extent, photography is welcomed by the population.

Pedro Meyer left day before yesterday, Raghu Rai left yesterday, Ozcan
Yurdalan left this morning, while Zhuang Wubin is still out there
somewhere in Sylhet. The exhibitions by Morten Krogvold, Michel
Szulc-Krzyzanowski, Srinivas Kuruganti (Alliance Française), John
Lambrichts (Goethe Insitut), Raghu Rai (Drik Gallery One), Darren Soh,
Student’s of Morten’s workshop, Zhuang Wubin and Chris Yap (Drik Rooftop
Gallery) all end today. We will arrange separate showings for “Bridging
East and West”, by Saudi Aramco World, which was held up by customs, and
the exhibition by students of Barbara Stauss at a later date. Those of
you who cannot make it to the galleries should give your eyes a feast at

Shahidul Alam

December 23, 2004 Posted by | News Archives, Photography | Leave a comment