Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including interviews with World Press Photo-nominated photographers, details of Bangladesh’s Chobi Mela festival, plus Piero Percoco on his wildly successful Instagram The Rainbow is Underestimated
“Chobi Mela continues the way it began,” writes Shahidul Alam. “Unyielding to power.” He’s referencing the very first Chobi Mela festival, which opened in Dhaka, Bangladesh back in 2000. Alam and Robert Pledge had painstakingly put together an exhibition on Bangladesh’s 1971 war, which a government minister – phoning at midnight – wanted to censor; rather than comply and remove the offending prints, Alam and Pledge moved the entire exhibition to a new venue, which opened at 3pm the next day.
“That is how we’ve always done it,” writes Alam, the founder of Chobi Mela. “Against the odds, facing the storm, with the wind against our face.”
Though he doesn’t mention it outright, it’s difficult to read his comments now without also thinking of Alam’s own recent experience, in which he spent 107 days in Dhaka Central Jail last year. The 63-year old photographer and Drik Gallery director was arrested on 05 August after stating in an interview with Al Jazeera that the wave of student protests in Bangladesh last year was a reaction to government corruption. He was charged with violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT) – which has been used in more than 20 recent cases involving journalists, most of them related to news-reporting – and was held for more than 100 days.
Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including a new book on London’s Thamesmead estate, an exhibition of Diane Arbus’ early work, and World Press Photo Foundation’s pick of the emerging photographers from Asia
Dawoud Bey, Jess T. Dugan, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Shahidul Alam, and Zadie Smith have been announced as the honourees of this year’s Infinity Awards, organised by The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.
American photographer Dawoud Bey will be presented with the Art award, Jess T. Dugan with Emerging Photographer, and Zadie Smith with Critical Writing and Research, for her piece in the New Yorker titled Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory. This year’s jury was composed of: Erin Barnett, director of exhibitions and collections, ICP; David Gonzalez, co-editor, Lens Blog; Kristen Joy Watts, editor of @design, Instagram; and Rhea L. Combs, curator of film and photography, National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Last month, renowned photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa was dismissed as director of Days Japan, the monthly photojournalism magazine he founded, after claims of sexual harassment
Acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this autumn, when he was arrested in Dhaka on 05 August for making “provocative comments” following widespread protests against government corruption. After over 100 days in jail he’s now been freed on bail, and back in the media for his images – which is now on show in London. He’s included in the third FIX Photo Festival, which is open until 01 December in London, and also includes work by Magnum Photos’ Chris Steele-Perkins, Zaklina Anderson, Robert Clayton, Christian Nilson, Mercedes Parodi, Helen Petersen, Einar Sira, Chloe Rosser, and more, plus a symposium on women in photography.
Bangladeshi photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam was freed from Dhaka Central Jail at on 21 November, after being locked up for 107 days for spreading “propaganda and false information”.
The 63-year old photographer and Drik Gallery director was arrested at his home in Dhaka on 05 August, and was charged with violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), which has been used in more than 20 recent cases involving journalists, most of them related to news-reporting, according to Bangladeshi paper The Daily Star.
Award-winning photographer Shahidul Alam has spent over 100 days in jail, but – according to Reuters and several Bangladeshi newspapers – has finally been granted bail by the High Court this morning. “We’re delighted that ultimately the court has granted him bail,” said his lawyer Sarah Hossain in the Reuters’ report, adding she expected her client to be out soon.
The 63-year-old photographer and activist was arrested at his home in Dhaka on 05 August, and was charged the next day with violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), after giving an interview to Al Jazeera on the current wave of student protests in Bangladesh against unsafe roads. In the interview, he stated that these actions stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption, and the charges mean he faces up to 14 years in prison.
Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam has been given the Humanitarian Award at this year’s Lucie Awards. The award was given on 28 October in recognition of Alam’s prestigious career in photography and activism, which has seen him documenting the democratic struggle to remove Bangladeshi dictator General Hussain Muhammad Ershad in 1984, publishing a celebrated book My journey as a witness, and taking the last official portrait of Nelson Mandela in 2009. In addition, Alam set up the award-winning Drik picture agency, the Chobi Mela festival, and the South Asian Media Institute.
Alam is currently in prison in Bangladesh, having been arrested on 05 August and charged with violating Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act. The Lucie Foundation took the opportunity to join the many international voices speaking out against his incarceration, which include Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and Index on Censorship.
At 10pm on 05 August, photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam was arrested at his home in Dhaka. The next day he was charged for violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), after giving an interview to Al Jazeera on the current wave of student protests in Bangladesh against unsafe roads, in which he said that these actions stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption. He now faces up to 14 years in prison.
According to Amnesty International, which has taken up the photographer’s plight, Section 57 is a “draconian law” that has been used against well over 1000 people since it was introduced in 2006. “Police do not need arrest warrants or official permission to prosecute,” explains the organisation. “Those accused are mostly denied bail pending their trial and kept locked up for months with no official verdict. Shahidul himself was denied bail on 10 September 2018. Those arrested are often journalists who’ve published articles criticising the government.”