Shahidul Alam

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Dr. Alam at the Asia-Europe Emerging Photographers' Forum in Malaysia (May 2009)

Shahidul Alam (born 1955, Dhaka, Bangladesh) is a Bangladeshi photographer. Alam's work has been shown at leading museums and galleries in the world, such as Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, the National Art Gallery in Malaysia and the Tate Modern in Britain.[citation needed]

Life and work[edit]

Alam studied and taught chemistry in London where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of London.[1]

In 1989, he set up Drik picture library and in 1998, Pathshala: South Asian Institute of Photography. He is also a director of Chobi Mela, the festival of photography in Asia.[2] Jury member of numerous competitions including World Press Photo where he has been a judge on four occasions, he was the first person of colour to chair the international jury in World Press Photo history.[citation needed]

Alam was the first Asian recipient of the prestigious Mother Jones Award for Documentary Photography. His numerous other awards include the Andrea Frank Foundation Award and the Howard Chapnick Award. He has also been awarded the Honorary Fellowships of the Bangladesh Photographic Society and later, the Royal Photographic Society in 2001, for his contribution to photography.[citation needed]

He is on the advisory board for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and the National Geographic Society. He is visiting professor of Sunderland University in the UK and Regent's Lecturer at UCLA in the USA. He is an acclaimed public speaker and has lectured at Harvard and Stanford Universities in the USA, in Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK, and in numerous prestigious academic institutions in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. Alam is the founder chairman of Majority World, a global community interest initiative formed to provide a platform for indigenous photographers, photographic agencies and image collections from the majority world to gain access to global image markets.[citation needed]

On 16 June 2009 he was detained by the Indian Border Security Force while working on a project based on the river Brahmaputra at the Bangladesh side of the Rowmari-Sahapara border at the district of Jamalpur [3] but was released after an international campaign was taken up for his release.[citation needed]

Alam set up the South Asian Media Academy. His recent exhibition "Crossfire" curated by Peruvian curator Jorge Villacorta has been widely acclaimed, but was closed down by the police leading to nationwide protests. [4][5][6][7] The police barricade was removed after Drik’s lawyers served legal notice on the government. The court’s response and subsequent events enabled Drik to open the exhibition for public viewing on 31 March.[8]


  1. ^ Karim, Elita. "Changing the Face of Photography". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Chobi-Mela.". United News of Bangladesh (December, 2004). 6 December 2004. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  3. ^ "". Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Gonzalez, David (16 March 2010). "Where Death Squads Struck in Bangladesh". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "’Crossfire’ exhibition sparks angry police reaction". Demotix. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ [3][dead link]

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