An hour after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Abir Abdullah got to the scene unsure where to begin taking pictures. More than a thousand people had died and hundreds more were trapped alive in the rubble. Injured workers were screaming and crying all around him as rescue workers pulled bodies from the debris.
“Eyes on the World,” a collection moving, provocative, inspiring photographs from the Alexia Foundation’s archive is currently on display at 25CPW Gallery in New York City through June 23. The exhibit includes “Keg Stand Queens,” a project on binge-drinking among college-aged women, by the foundation’s 2011 student award winner, Amanda Berg. Other featured photographers include Jan Dago, Francesco Zizola and 2013 grant winner Abir Abdullah whose work depicts the perils of working in Bangladesh garment factories. The Alexia Foundation photojournalists through grants, scholarships and special projects. Since 1991, the foundation has awarded $700,000 to photo students and professionals.
Death Trap: Tragedy in Bangladesh
In 2005, Abir Abdullah began documenting the dangers that plague Bangladesh’s manufacturing industry, covering a series of building collapses and fires, including last week’s horrific Rana Plaza building collapse, the death toll from which passed a staggering four hundred people on Thursday.
Abir Abdullah of Bangladesh has won the $15,000 professional award in the Alexia Foundation grant competition, organizers announced this morning.
'Death Traps' in Dhaka
Seeking to show how vulnerable an ostensibly up-and-coming modern metropolis is, Abir Abdullah has been chasing the fires that plague Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A patriot might not readily describe his native city as a “death trap” and a beautiful place in the same breath, but for the Bangladeshi photographer Abir Abdullah, they’re not mutually exclusive. Bangladesh and its capital, Dhaka, one of the most populous and dense cities in the world, face complex challenges, as a robust economy frequently beset by natural disasters.