Taslima Akhter

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Taslima Akhter (born 1974) is a Bangladeshi activist and photographer. She is a graduate of Dhaka University, as well as the photography school Pathshala. She is a member of several activist organizations. While documenting the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, she took a photograph of a woman and a man who had died in each other's arms, which became emblematic of the incident.

Biography[edit]

Taslima Akhter was born in Dhaka, in Bangladesh, in 1974.[1] Akhter is a graduate of Dhaka University, with Master's degrees in science and in public administration.[2] While at the university, she was a member of the Bangladesh Student's Federation.[2] She went on the study photojournalism at Pathshala,[2] a photography school in Dhaka, which was founded by Shahidul Alam.[3] She tries to bring attention to social and environmental issues through her photography, driven partly by her experience during the 2008 political emergency in Bangladesh.[2] Akhter was among those who documented the fire at Tasreen Garments factory in 2012.[2] Akhter has worked on projects in several cities in Bangladesh, as well as in Nandigram in India.[2] Her work led to her receiving the Magnum Foundation scholarship in 2010.[1] Her work has been exhibited in several countries.[1]

Akhter is a member of the women's organization Biplobi Nari Sanghati and the leftist activist group Gana Sanghati Andolan.[3] She is also a coordinator of the Garments Sramik Sangathan (garment worker's union).[1][2] In addition, she teaches at Pathshala.[3] Akhter's politics have an influence on her photography.[3]

Final Embrace[edit]

Following the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013, Akhter and other photographers from Pathshala tried to document the lives of people who had died there,[3] while also taking part in the rescue effort.[2] These stories were later published as a book, titled Chobbish April: Hazaar Praner Chitkar (24 April: outcries of a thousand souls).[3] The publication was related to Akhter's work with the garment workers' union.[2] During this process, Akhter photographed a man and woman who had died in the building collapse, locked in an embrace with each other.[4] Akhter was unable to identify the subjects of the photograph despite much effort.[5] [6] This photograph, known variously as the "Eternal Embrace",[4] the "Death of A Thousand Dreams",[7] and the "Final Embrace,"[8] received widespread critical attention and multiple awards, and became emblematic of the incident, in which 1100 people died.[4] The photograph also received widespread attention online, and led to petitions to clothing companies demanding higher minimum wages and improved safety standards.[4] Akhter described herself a being haunted by the photograph.[4][5]

Awards[edit]

  • Third prize for documentary photography at the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, for her documentary The Life and Struggle of Garment Workers (2010).[1]
  • Time magazine's "Top 10 Photos of 2013" for "Final Embrace" (2013).[1][9]
  • Best Photographer Award from the 5th Dali International Photography Exhibition in China (2013).[1]
  • Third prize for single photos in the "Spot News" category, World Press Photo competition, 2014.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Taslima Akhter". World Press Photo. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hossain, Anika (23 August 2014). "Activism Through Photography". dailystar.net. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Prashad, Vijay (12 October 2015). "Workers' yarns". Himal magazine.
  4. ^ a b c d e Roy, Sourav (31 May 2013). "Why the 'Eternal Embrace' Photograph From Bangladesh Haunts Its Photographer the Most". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Haunting Dhaka disaster picture: A last embrace after clothes factor collapse that killed 950". Mirror.co.uk. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  6. ^ Pollack, Kira (2 December 2013). "TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2013". Time magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Photography Oxford festival 2014". The Guardian. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Rana Plaza images win World Press Photo". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  9. ^ Kira Pollack, "TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2013" Time (magazine), Accessed 16 November 2016
  10. ^ "2014 Photo Contest". World Press Photo. Retrieved 4 November 2016.