imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category

Nov 25,2007

Poverty in Gulshan Streets

Behind bars

Jul 18,2007

Hasina behind bars

How prescient of us eh? A shot we took of Sheikh Hasina on her recent visit to London. Maybe we were thinking wishfully?!

Nice shot

Apr 9,2007


Farjana Godhuly captures the celebrations around South Africa’s humiliation by the Bangladesh cricket team in Guyana. Apparently the rainy days have been affecting the morale of the south african team. Yeah right.

Rickshaw babe No 3

Feb 20,2007

As a follow up to my original Rickshaw babe post here is another hot rickshaw totty below. Sorry she is slightly blurred. My hands were shaking in excitement and hence the imperfect photo. I am presently searching for  paintings of Britney Spears on  Dhaka rickshaws. Apparently they exist! Who said globalisation was bad?
hot totty

GMB Akash

Feb 13,2007

I hear on the grapevine and in some news reports that this ultra-talented photographer is seeking asylum in Germany. He has received death threats because of his depiction of a madrassah, and in particular this photograph.

GMB Akash child in chains

A cheery flyer

Feb 3,2007

I snapped this at the Liberation War Museum. It is an institution which is going through a transition and boy it needs to….do read my other posts on this museum ( just search for ‘liberation war museum’ in the search box).

Blood on the streets

Feb 2,2007

jamaat poster

As an avid collector of political posters, I have to say the stuff one finds in bangladesh is quite interesting. As a collector, it is interesting for me to see how design and art speak to people. It is interesting to draw out those aspects of design which have become established and to question why. ( I deal with some of these issues in my forthcoming book on ‘censorship’). Bangladeshi political posters don’t belong in galleries or your walls….they belong in the streets. And I dont mean that in a positive sense. In democratic struggles elsewhere one clearly witnesses the goal of the artists responsible - their goal is about transformation and to inculcate a radical consciousness. In Bangladesh it is to seek out vengeance, to fan the flames of hatred and carry out retribution on the streets. Creative cultural activists are clearly not involved, and one can heave a partial sigh of relief that that is the case. And so the graphic design is quite straightforward and done on a computer in those myriad little printing shops that exist and they consist of some text and gruesome images of death and mayhem. In the album above (click the picture) I give examples of the kind of images to be seen on these posters. In another post I will display a collection of posters.

The state of things

Jan 30,2007

outside Razmoni cinema

A chap taking a leak outside Razmoni cinema.

Sep 30,2006

Ershad in noose

Here is a depiction of Ershad found on the walls of the Garmment Worker’s United Forum! Sorry about the quality - the old N91 is to blame. Not even Karl Jeff’s professional efforts can beat this one I reckon….

If you have any good ones yourself of the old dictator, send them my way. I am amassing a collection for my bedroom walls. I know…I am a sad git.

Anwar Hossain in Amsterdam

Sep 25,2006
Anwar Hossain is holding an exhibition at the World Trade Centre, Amsterdam from tomorrow for a couple of weeks. Those of you who are not aware of his work - he is one of Bangldesh’s foremost photographers. He is also a noted cinematographer. And fortunately for me he is the cameraman for the film I am co-producing! ( More on this later). So if you happen to be in Amsterdam tomorrow, come along and say hi. We will both be there. Here is one of his photos which I absolutely adore.

Anwar Hossain

Muslim societies and nudity

Aug 29,2006

Well done to Syra Miah, a Bangladeshi-Britsh photographer, for exposing censorship aimed at perpetuating myths about ‘muslim societies’: Photographer protests at exhibition ‘censorship’

Rickshaw babes: No 1

Apr 29,2006

richkshaw babe 1

I snapped her somewhere near Sadarghat. And each weekend I will post a new one. As always for balance, I shall be posting up rickshaw hunks too. Unfortunately they are the goonda (gangster) type but - hey - people like a bit of rough now and then…who am i to dictate tests?

On a “serious” note, do these rickshaw babes and goonda hunks pose a traffic hazard? Check this policeman checking out the rickshaw babe when surely his attention should be elsewhere ? And before anyone accuses me of being anti this smokeless form of transport, I am not…..
copper clocks an eyeful

Mar 7,2006

HSBC has always been agressive with its advertising. But recently their opportunistic advertising has been getting up my wick. Take this ad here:


I photographed the above picture on a billboard near the Shakura market opposite the Sheraton (pls excuse the telegraph wires). This is a clearcut and shameless appropriation of a national symbol for commercial purposes. But it didn’t end there. At the Ekushey Book fair, HSBC apparently organised a quiz “with a view to diseminating knowledge on the glory of ‘Amar Ekushey’ among the new generation.” See HERE. ( Yes our journo fraternity love re-printing press releases without any critical input). And of course if you got things right, you would get one of their pens and one of their Amar Ekushey posters.

But that is not all, I kept encountering HSBC posters with the words “Celebrating One Hundred Years In Bangladesh.” Correct - that is the exact wording. That is what the posters said. Now my calculator is a cheap casio one but it functions acceptably, and tells me, even after repeated inputs, that Bangladesh is not that old if I subtract 1971 from 2006. Was my history wrong? Nope. True the All-India Muslim League was born in 1906 and so was the novelist R K Narayan but not Bangladesh. So what could it be about? Well according to Steve Banner, the CEO of HSBC, it was to “promote local culture and heritage as well as diversity.” And it was to celebrate the last one hundred years of bangla music. Bangla music is older but the last 100 years is a good number of years to celebrate, isn’t it? A century is a nice round figure after all. And of course the hugely long but totally false association implied in the ad between Bangladesh and HSBC can’t do business any harm - can it? So it dawned on thick old me that the title of the ad has no particular reference point in 1906 but the resonance of 100 years was too good to miss for the ad men. And that got up my wick. If you can be bothered to read the Daily Star about the event HSBC organised, do note again the sycophantic and uncritical journalist’s comment at the end. One hopes that the artistic community are, or will become, a bit more discerning about patronage than this journo Karim Waheed would like.

So what is behind it - I suspect all the above is fluff around what HSBC might be upto. Fluff to win the consumers’ hearts and minds. And they will need to. According to The HSBC Watch HSBC is rolling out its dodgy and high cost Household finance in Asia. ( In 2003 HSBC bought disgraced predatory lender Household International and apparently it has not dropped the infamous business model). I also understand this year HSBC are going into Islamic Banking in Bangladesh. I look forward to seeing their shariah compliant ads.

Feb 3,2006

I went to see a Drik photography exhibition last year in Dhaka. The exhibition was called Tales from a Globalizing World. It contained some of the best street photography I have seen. I recently took delivery of the book of the exhibition and I have taken the liberty to scan this pic below and reproduce the associated text. I hope the publishers don’t get upset.

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN who take refuge in the big buildings of Kamlapur Railway Station and Sadarghat Ferry Terminal. They try to earn a living by helping passengers carry their luggage to and from their trains and boats, or by selling cigarettes and fruit on the ferries. They sleep in a group, almost on top of each other, in order to protect themselves. Men, older street children, drug addicts, even policemen often try to use them sexually. Sometimes these children serve a purpose for the politicains and policemen. When the police cannot find enough trouble-makers for the required quota, they come here and pick up street children instead. Dhaka, Bangladesh, November 2001.

Pic and text by Shehzad Noorani in chapter entitled Childhood Denied, Nepal, India, Bangladesh: the struggle to survive.

I was in Sadarghat terminal in December 2005. Don’t think things have changed…..