Raise the Alam

Documentary photographer Shahidul Alam is largely unknown in the UK but in his native Bangladesh he’s credited with helping to introduce email to the country and providing the artistic inspiration to ensure there are now more documentary photographers in Bangladesh than any other country.

Ballakot rubble 2005
Ballakot rubble 2005

Add to that the recently founded Majority World photo agency which looks to only represent non western photographers in a bid to help them compete equally globally.

Flood victims in rain 1988
Flood victims in rain 1988

He has also founded the Bangladesh Photographic Institute, The South Asian Institute of Photography, and the biennial Chobi Mela international festival of photography. And he discovered penicillin; no, hold on, that one’s not true. 

ilish fishing 2001
ilish fishing 2001

His first UK exhibition My Journey As a Witness opens tomorrow, a show of 40 photos marking 40 years of independence in his home country, which is introduced as a rich, candid chronicle.

River crossing at Nijhum Dweep 2009
River crossing at Nijhum Dweep 2009

This is a broad selection from thirty years work, taking in beautiful or brutal realities in any one photograph.

Tsunami fishermen 2008
Tsunami fishermen 2008

Most striking though are the landscapes, marked by moody  skies and shafts of light which give any figures a context of divinity.

woman cooking on rooftop 1988
woman cooking on rooftop 1988

My Journey as a Witness runs from 6 October- 18 November at the Wilmotte Gallery, Lichfield Studios, 133 Oxford Gardens, London, W10

A book of the same name will launch simultaneously. 

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