Unwritten Histories

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Books in library shelves hold images that have shaped history. Familiar names, recognisable images and anecdotal tales, remind us of the greats in photography. Students study the trends set by cult figures and established masters. Experts at Sotheby’s tell you whose work to invest in. Limited edition prints in gallery walls, sport price tags commensurate with branding. The market decides. The signature says it all. The occasional controversy over the veracity of some historic image may cause a minor blip, but the myths live on, embalmed by scholars and other experts, who teach us what to value. A discovery causes a stir, and accolades follow for the discoverer and the discovered. They reaffirm the inclusiveness of it all.

Lost amongst the library shelves are some names that have taken a different route. They have worked within their own communities, far from the gallery walls. Some indeed have become household names despite this distance. Others have moved to the geographical epicentres of the industry. Each one however, has left an indelible stamp on the community that nurtured them. They have given hope, inspired and become role models for many communities that do not exist in those library tomes, except as a passing canvas of some recognised genius.

Turning their lens around at their own societies and their own craft, they have asked questions of themselves. Probing, searching, challenging, they have unsettled their own universe, asking hard and demanding answers. While discovery for some have come despite their peripheral role, others remain unknown, except in the communities they have chosen to immerse themselves in. This calendar celebrates the vision, the tenacity and the enormous skills of these individuals, rare in any society, who have chosen to make a difference. It pays homage to their unwritten history.

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Chien-Chi Chang
In 1999 Taiwanese Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang won the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the Visa d’Or in magazine photography in Perpignan, was named the Missouri/NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year and was awarded the first prize in the category “Daily Life Story” from World Press Photo.
Diego Goldberg
Working internationally since 1971, Diego Goldberg was President Mitterand’s personal photographer. As the director of photography of Clarin newspaper in Argentina, he won the Gold Medal at the Society of Publications Design Annual Awards. He was one of the masters at the World Press Photo “Masterclass” in 1996.
Graciela Iturbide
Graciela Iturbide studied under Manuel Alvarez Bravo and later worked with him. She was part of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, Conaculta, Fonca. Widely published and exhibited, her work is collected by major museums in Latin America, North America and Europe.
Kishor Parekh
As chief photographer with the Hindustan Times from 1961 to 1967, Kishor Parekh introduced the concept of picture-stories in India. Often at odds with his editors and the celebrities he photographed, he fought for space, both on the turf and on the printed page. His coverage of liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 is considered one of the finest documentations of the war.
Lucía Chiriboga
Chiriboga is a sociologist, a photographer and a researcher on the history of photography. She is the director of the “Visual Center Workshop for Photographic and Communications Research” in Queto city, a private foundation dedicated to the research, cataloguing and analysis of early Ecuadorian photography.
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
One of the greatest street photographers of Mexico, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio has also worked as editor of the magazine Luna Cornea, and was one of the founders of the Centra de la Imagen in Mexico City. He has also worked as an independent curator. An ability to combine humour and irony while dealing with stark subjects characterises his work.
Pedro Meyer
A pioneer of digital photography, Pedro Meyer is editor of the most visited photography website in the world – www.zonezero.com. He created the Latin American Colloquiums of Photography and founded the Mexican Council of Photography. Using Macromedia Director 1.0 he created the first CD-ROM containing photographs and sound in 1991.
Peter Magubane
Torture, a total of 586 days in solitary confinement and being shot 14 times below the waist with buckshot, failed to stop Peter Magubane from “demonstrating with my camera”. Africa’s best known photographer has documented the most significant moments of his country’s struggle against apartheid.
Raghu Rai
Raghu Rai was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ in 1971, one of India’s highest civilian awards. As the photo editor of India Today he was instrumental in changing the way photography was used in Indian newspapers. He has been associated with Magnum Photos since 1977. His books include Indira Gandhi, Taj Mahal, Calcutta, Mother Teresa and My Land and its People.
Reza Deghati
Jailed for over three years by the Shah’s regime for “showing the poverty and injustice in Tehran”, Reza Deghati is considered one of the best photojournalists in the world. Reza is the founder of the NGO AINA which works for the development of independent media and cultural expression in Afghanistan.
Shahidul Alam
Photographer, writer, teacher and activist Shahidul Alam set up Drik Picture Library, Pathshala – The South Asian Institute of Photography and Chobi Mela the festival of photography in Asia. An information technology pioneer in Bangladesh, Alam is currently involved in setting up a regional centre for investigative journalism.
Tara Sosrowardoyo
Famous for his work as an album-cover art director and photographer Tara Sosrowardoyo was also a stills photographer for feature films. His diverse work in advertising, editorial, journalism, fashion and portraiture has been used in Time, Newsweek and Vogue. He has several books and audio visual programmes on Indonesia.

Well, the Drik 2004 Calendar is now available. Feast yourself on this
list of photographers:

Chien-Chi Chang, Diego Goldberg, Graciela Iturbide, Kishor Parekh, Lucia
Chiriboga, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Pedro Meyer, Peter Magubane, Raghu
Rai, Reza Deghati, Shahidul Alam, Tara Sosrowardoyo.

Special thanks to Claudia Pretelin, Maria Mann, Neo Ntsome, Robin
Comely, Stefana Fraboulet and Swapan Parekh for their help.

Best wishes for the Gregorian New Year.

Shahidul

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