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zonezero would like to join the celebration of Bangladeshi photography on this landmark year that amounts to 20 years of Drik Picture Agency and 11 years of the Pathshala, South Asian Institute of Photography. We would like to specially congratulate the outstanding job that Shahidul Alam has done not only in organizing, teaching, and providing visibility to photographers in Bangladesh, but in doing it so successfully.

We know that accomplishing such a paramount task has been the result of collaboration. We would also like to congratulate Shahidul's colleagues and staff at Drik and Pathsala for their vision and commitment.

We also thank Andy Levin and 100Eyes for sharing this magnificent selection of work done by Bangladeshi photographers portraying their own land and people.

Our best wishes on this anniversary of achievement and success
From all of us at zonezero.com


It was twenty years ago. A small group of people set up a picture agency in the unlikely location of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Named Drik, the Sanskrit word for vision, the agency set out to represent a group of media professionals that other agencies did not cater for, practitioners living and working in the majority world. In the years that have followed, many others from Asia, Africa and Latin America have joined the original group. All of them share a common vision; one that sees the majority world, not as fodder for disaster reporting, but as a vibrant source of human energy and a challenge to an exploitative global economic system.

Having pioneered the introduction of email into Bangladesh, Drik continues to take the lead in new media, through not only the launch of the nation's first webzine Meghbarta, the web portal Orientation, and the country's human rights portal Banglarights, but also through its broad band direct satellite link.

Drik's social commitment is central to its work ethos. While its professional team making up the library, darkroom, studio, gallery and publication, multimedia and Internet departments provides state of the art media products for an international clientele, it also provides support for its network of creative individuals around the world who challenge western media hegemony. Its training programmes range from providing education for working class children to training the region's brightest young photojournalists through Pathshala, its education wing, where top professionals from Magnum, National Geographic, Time, Contact Press Images and other leading media organisations make up the visiting faculty.

The launch of the first festival of photography in Asia, Chobi Mela, and Drik Partnership, a global conglomerate consisting of some of the most innovative organisations in Asia, Africa and Europe, will ensure that the majority world continues to carve out a space for itself in world media.


Shahidul Alam picture © Pedro Meyer 2009

Years of Pathshala

Breaking Ships, Broken Men © Saiful Huq Omi
Also the brainchild of Shahidul Alam, Pathsala's school of photography. The name Pathshala comes from the ancient education system that prevailed in South Asia. It brings to mind classes held underneath a large tree; conjuring up learning spaces without walls, in the cool shade of its leaves. The South Asian Institute of Photography not only allows students to explore the world of image making but provides them opportunities to question beyond the confines of the discipline.

The conceptual absence of classroom walls enables 1st year students and 3rd year students to attend the same classes and work together on collaborative projects together with visiting faculty. This enhances and complements each student's learning experience.
The institute started in 1998 as part of a three-year World Press Photo (WPP) educational initiative.It was launched to coincide with the Dhaka's annual WPP exhibition. This exhibition was also replicated in other countries like Peru, Bosnia and Zimbabwe. This initiative of WPP and Drik Picture Library Ltd, was supported by The British Council, The Thomson Foundation and Panos South Asia. Since then, Pathshala has slowly grown to become a fully-fledged educational wing of Drik, a socially-conscious photo resource centre also based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The first group of six students is now among prominent photographers whose photographs have been published in some of the leading publications worldwide. From its modest beginnings Pathshala expanded attracting students from within Bangladesh as well as outside.


Breaking Ships, Broken Men © Saiful Huq Omi

Also an initiative of Drik, Majority World, is a platform for photographers and agencies from the majority world to gain fairer access to international image markets. Through the Majority World Image Library, image buyers can also easily find the wealth of fresh imagery emerging from talented majority world photographers.


100 Eyes magazine
Bangladesh x Bangladesh

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