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Shahidul Alam - My Journey as a Witness
The Prince Claus Fund organised the book presentation of the photo book My Journey as a Witness by Shahidul Alam on 24 January 2012. In Foam Amsterdam Shahidul passionately told the story of his journey to becoming among other a photographer and a cultural activist who in his own way fights for justice and equality in his country Bangladesh.
Speakers were Shahidul Alam who in addition to photographer is writer, activist, and social entrepreneur and Rosa Maria Falvo, writer and curator specialised in Asian contemporary art. After that Bas Vroege, photographer and director of Paradox, had a public discussion with Shahidul and the audience was able to ask questions. American Photo magazine selected 'My Journey as a Witness' as one of the 50 best photo books of 2011. The book was sold at the event and Shahidul Alam signed copies. In the Netherlands the book is sold at 42,99 Euros at www.bol.com and it is internationally avaiblable at www.amazon.com.
My Journey as a Witness
My Journey as a Witness is an insight into the evolution of one of the most significant movements in contemporary photography, through the eyes and voice of the man who shaped it. An extraordinary artist, Shahidul Alam is a photographer, writer, activist, and social entrepreneur who used his art to chronicle the social and artistic struggles in a country known largely for poverty and disasters.
Lucid and personal, this much-awaited book includes 130 photographs tracing Alam’s artistic career, activism, and the founding of photography organizations. From early images shot in England to photographs of the last two decades in his native Bangladesh, this is a journey from photojournalism into social justice. Alam’s superb imagery is matched by his perceptive accounts, at once deeply intimate and bitingly satirical. Edited by Rosa Maria Falvo.
'One of the most important books ever created by a photographer, and it goes far beyond photography' John Godfrey Morris, 11 November 2011
Shahidul Alam, who as founder and director of Drik Picture Library is connected to the Prince Claus Fund as network partner, was born in 1955 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Alam is a photographer, writer, activist, and social entrepreneur who has led us through the social and artistic struggles in a country known largely for poverty and disasters. He is profoundly influenced by inequality in his country and the liberation war, pursued a life in photography to challenge oppression and imperialism in all its forms. Attacked, arrested, and threatened with death, Alam built what many consider to be the finest photography school in the world, an award-winning agency, and the world’s most diverse photography festival. Widely celebrated, Alam claims as his achievements not the awards and exhibitions but the people he has trained and the lives he has transformed.
Rosa Maria Falvo is a writer and curator, as well as Skira’s international commissions editor, specialising in Asian contemporary art. She lives in Italy and Australia, travels throughout Asia, and curates exhibitions of the work of a variety of contemporary artists from this region. She has travelled through Bangladesh and participated in the Chobi Mela International Photo Festival and presented at Pathshala, the South Asian Media Academy, and the Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts in Dhaka.
Bas Vroege studied economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam (1976-1979, BA) and photography at Academie Sint Joost in Breda (1979-1981). From 1981-1993 he was director of Perspektief, centre for photography in Rotterdam, and the Fotografie Biënnale Rotterdam (1988-1992). Vroege founded Paradox in 1993 and has been the organisation's director since. Paradox produces photography-related projects (exhibitions, books, films, websites) driven by a social agenda. As an independent curator, he has been responsible for a number of cross-media festivals and exhibitions. He is currently member of the International Board of Advisors of the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing, China) and sits on the Supervisory Board of World Press Photo (Amsterdam). As a photographer he had a number of international shows, held mainly between 1980-1990. His work can be found in a number of public collections, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
"Alam’s work reaffirms our belief in the value of culture"
Christa Meindersma, Director of the Prince Claus Fund
Foreword by Christa Meindersma
As the new director of the Prince Claus Fund (PCF), it is a great honour for me to renew our support for Shahidul Alam’s work. This book provides an insider’s view into the revolutionary photographic movement that he has developed in Bangladesh.
Since 2005 the Drik Picture Library has been part of the international network partnership programme of the Prince Claus Fund. We believe culture and development can flourish through professional collaboration, inspiration, and the exchange of knowledge and expertise on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Our international network of partners is at the heart of the Fund’s work. The PCF recognizes people and organizations that are a driving force for development and change in their own countries, inspiring others with their vision. Indeed, ‘Drik’ in Sanskrit means ‘vision’ and through its committed actions over the years it can truly be described as a visionary organization. Drik pioneered the introduction of email into Bangladesh; it launched ‘Orientation’ the nation’s first web portal, and Banglarights, the country's first human rights portal. It also initiated ‘Chobi Mela’, which is now the most important international photography festival in Asia.
The PCF believes the possibility of expression, whether culturally or intellectually, is indispensable to human life. Alam’s work bears witness to this great potential, as Bangladesh has become a biennial pilgrimage for contemporary photographers throughout the world. Through its awards and grants, the Fund has often supported individuals who have taken a stand and undergone personal risk to ensure the rights of others. Having seen first hand the role that Alam’s work has played in establishing the rights of marginalised people, and the success of his strategic interventions, our belief in the value of culture has been reaffirmed.
Director Prince Claus Fund
Shahidul Alam is founder and director of Drik Picture Library in Bangladesh Drik Picture Library, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Photography: Seventeen years ago, a small group of people set up a picture agency in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It was an unlikely location and the group was made up of media professionals that other agencies did not cater for, namely practitioners living and working in the majority world. They called their agency ‘Drik’, the Sanskrit word for ‘vision’. In the years that have followed, many others from Asia, Africa and Latin America have joined the original group. Drik pioneered the introduction of email into Bangladesh and continues to take the lead in new media. It launched the nation's first webzine, Meghbarta, the web portal Orientation, and the country's human rights portal Banglarights. It also established its own broad band direct satellite link. Drik's social commitment is central to its work ethos. A professional team staff Drik’s library, darkroom, studio, gallery and publication, multimedia and Internet departments. They provide state of the art media products for an international clientele, and also support a network of creative individuals around the world who challenge western media hegemony. The launch of the first festival of photography in Asia, Chobi Mela, and Drik Partnership, a global conglomerate consisting of some of the most innovative organisations in Asia, Africa and Europe, ensure that the majority world will continue to carve out a space for itself in world media.
Netwerk Partnersview programme
Een open, wederzijds voordelige uitwisseling gebaseerd op respect en vertrouwen. Dat is de kern van het Netwerk Partner Programma van het Prins Claus Fonds. Ieder jaar nodigt het Fonds twee culturele organisaties met hun eigen gevestigde netwerken in Azië, Afrika, Latijns-Amerika of het Caraïbisch gebied uit om voor een periode van 3 jaar Netwerk Partners te worden. De Partners en het Fonds bouwen een relatie op door samenwerking aan innovatieve activiteiten, het geven van advies, inspiratie en steun en de ervaring van hun netwerk te delen.
Shahidul Alam - My Journey as a Witness
Shahidul Alam - My Journey as a Witness
The Prince Claus Fund organised the book presentation of the photo book My Journey as a Witness by Shahidul Alam on 24 January 2012. In Foam Amsterdam Shahidul passionately told the story of his journey to becoming among other a photographer and a cultural activist who in his own way fights for justice and equality in his country Bangladesh. Speakers were Shahidul Alam who in addition to photographer...