Shahidul Alam, the acclaimed Bangladeshi photojournalist and activist, pushes against the limits of his medium to cast light on what is suppressed or has vanished.
Like Woody Guthrie, who called his guitar an anti-fascist weapon, the Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam has used his camera for 35 years as a tool to advance social justice. He began by documenting street protests in Dhaka, the capital, in the mid-80s, making pictures in the tradition of the Magnum photographers, especially Henri Cartier-Bresson. But over time, he pushed against the natural constraints of a medium that registers what is seen, so that he might illuminate what is suppressed or has vanished.
The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.
Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for “imperative reasons of security” under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative’s review of Hussein’s work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.