“As a journalist, your only space is at the edge. You have to be constantly feeling the heat. Go back one more step, and you may cease to be effective. There are no safe options, and no prizes for popularity and if you’re not making certain people uncomfortable by your presence, you are probably doing something wrong. The struggle for change is a never-ending process that requires you to be constantly alert, and forever swimming against the current. It is a lonely, stressful, tiring and immensely gratifying journey
I am a Bangladeshi photographer, writer and activist with a special interest in education, new media and ICT. I was a research tutor at London University where I obtained a PhD in organic chemistry before taking up photography as a profession. I am a former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society and set up the award winning Drik Picture Library. I also set up the Bangladesh Photographic Institute and Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography and the DrikNews photo agency. I am the director of Chobi Mela the festival of photography in Asia. My work has been shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Royal Albert Hall in London, Le centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. I have chaired the World Press Photo international jury. I am an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a board member of the National Geographic Society and the Eugene Smith Foundation. I am currently visiting professor of photography at the University of Sunderland. In 2007 I lectured at Harvard, UCLA and Stanford universities in the USA, Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and Universidade Eduaro Monldane in Mozambique and was one of the Masters in the Joop Swart Masterclass organised by World Press Photo. In 2007, I also had two books published, “Nature’s Fury” on the earthquake in Kashmir and “Portraits of Commitment” a book of portraits of leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Asia. I have been a guest curator for the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and the Whitechapel Gallery in London. In 2009 I had the rare privilege of being given exclusive access to photograph Nelson Mandela. In 2010, I presented my ongoing work on extrajudicial killings at the Tate Modern.
I am currently setting up a media academy in Bangladesh