Photographer, writer, activist and institution builder; Bangladesh
A Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018, photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry from London University before taking up photography. Returning to Dhaka in 1984, he documented the democratic struggle to remove General Ershad. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up Drik agency, Bangladesh Photographic Institute, Chobi Mela festival, Majority World agency and Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world.
Shown in MOMA, Centre Georges Pompidou and Tate Modern and a speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, Alam guest curated at Whitechapel Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Shilpakala Padak, the highest national award given to Bangladeshi artists, as well as the Infinity and Lucie Foundation Awards.
John Morris of Life Magazine described his book “My journey as a witness” as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”
Alam introduced email to Bangladesh in the early nineties. In 2018 he was jailed for over 100 days for criticising his government. His recent book “The Tide Will Turn” and his ongoing retrospective at Rubin Museum “Truth to Power” have received critical acclaim.