Shahidul Alam


A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam from Bangladesh, obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the award winning agency Drik Picture Library, Bangladesh Photographic Institute, Chobi Mela festival, Majority World agency and Pathshala, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world.

He has been shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern London, Museum of Contemporary Arts Tehran and Documenta 15. A guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery, National Art Gallery Malaysia, Musee de Quai Branly and Brussels Biennale, Alam was given the Shilpakala Award in 2015, the highest honour given to Bangladeshi artists. In 2022 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Arts, London.

A speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities and top museums, as well as TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam has been a jury member in prestigious international contests since 1986, including World Press Photo, which he chaired. Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Alam is a professor of Sunderland University in UK and RMIT in Australia

John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine, describes his book My journey as a witness as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.” His book The Tide Will Turn was in the New York Times list of ‘Best Art Books of 2020’ Alam introduced email to Bangladesh in the early nineties. In 2018 he was jailed for over 100 days for criticizing his government. Time magazine Person of the Year 2018 Shahidul Alam is now the Explorer at Large at National Geographic Society.

Shahidul Alam

Portrait credit: Rahnuma Ahmed