Shahidul Alam


Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, photographer, writer and human rights activist Shahidul Alam, obtained a PhD in chemistry from London University, before taking up photography. Returning to his native country Bangladesh in 1984, he campaigned to bring down autocratic general Hussain Muhammad Ershad. In his pursuit of social justice, he set up the award-winning organisations, Drik, Pathshala and Chobi Mela, through media, education and culture. His book, My Journey as a Witness, has been described by John Morris, the legendary picture editor of Life Magazine, as the ‘most important book ever written by a photographer.’ A recognized public speaker, Alam has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford and Yale universities. He has been exhibited at MOMA, Tate Modern and Centre Georges Pompidou. His awards include the Lucie Foundation award considered the Oscars of photography, as well as the Shilpakala Award, the highest cultural award given to Bangladeshi artists. Alam is the only person of colour to have chaired the prestigious international jury of World Press Photo. He is a visiting professor of Sunderland University and an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018 he was jailed and tortured for speaking out against his government’s repressive practices.