New Photos From Bangladesh!

Book projects lead me to all parts of the world. For an upcoming volume on the varied and fascinating faiths of the world I am working on, I ventured to Bangladesh to photograph the Bishwa Ijtemi. The World Muslim Congress has been held since 1942 in Tongi and it’s the second largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Holy Hajj. 4 million –  and then some –  Muslims gather here for several days of activities and devotion. Everyone arrives and departs on trains in Dhaka, resulting in a crush of humanity I’ve only ever experienced in the Kumbh Mela in India.

Bangladesh is a fascinating, gritty country full of extremely friendly and welcoming people. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many people want to take selfies with me—it’s not a country that gets a lot of tourists. In Cox’s Bazar we photographed the elegant moon boats; their crescent design aids fishermen to get across sand bars to shore. On the very real side of life, we photographed vast smoldering garbage fields, dusty brick factories, and Asia’s largest shipyard. These are hard workers, who appreciate everything they have and it shows!

5 Responses to “New Photos From Bangladesh!”

  1. January Holmes says:

    These pictures are wonderful. Do you carry canon selphy printers and give these people a copy?
    Have fun!

    • Avatar photo Art Wolfe says:

      Thanks for the comment, January. Unfortunately I have to be fairly judicious about what I take with me on trips. Pack space is limited, smaller flights often have weight restrictions, and I already have way too much stuff to keep track of. There is always some desired equipment that I end up needing to leave behind. That is a fun idea however!

  2. Valerie Rampone says:

    Art . . . great captures of life in Bangladesh. A few of the images are destined to be included in your books. What happens to the rest? Are they archived in a personal cache or at another archive like the Smithsonian or such repository? Or are they trashed!!?
    I ask as I’ve been on a bit of a mission to get my similar photos of life in various places into archives. I have a sense that it is important as when I go ‘pouf’ so will all my info and my images. The weight of my years is lending urgensie to the project. . . but then, maybe it is not important at all and I should forget about it? I ride the usual artist rollercoaster of emotions from ‘It’s a fantastic idea to it’s totally garbage!’ Why bother. Throw it out.
    Is there more to your ‘Why you document life’ than creating books? I’m looking for a bit of inspiration as only one friend really understands the future value of such material. I’m kind of at the bottom of the rollercoaster at the moment although I have gotten a couple of Photo Club projects from 1985 & 89 into the local archives. The material is being used.
    Any thoughts?

    • Avatar photo Art Wolfe says:

      Hi Valerie – book projects drive my creative spirit, plain and simple! I love leading workshops and teaching, but if I don’t have a book project to be working on it’s hard to have a focus. Fortunately with several books in mind during any given season or year, there is no shortage of ideas for subjects and destinations!

      I shoot thousands of photos on my trips, and then spend several hours/days weeding out the unsuccessful photos, and also pulling out the best of the best. This leaves a lot of photos that I keep but don’t necessarily highlight. I use photoshelter to store a lot of my best photos online, while the rest are copied to a large local server. You never know what you might find going through old trip photos! very large 10+ terabyte hard drives aren’t too expensive these days, so a combination of online and local storage are both great ideas for your photos.

  3. David Sacks says:

    Your photos are something for me to aspire to when I grow up or live long enough. Whichever comes first. They take my breath away. Can’t wait to attend another workshop. Have had some physical problems.

    When we were in Astoria you were really enjoying your Canon 100 to 400 lens. Are you still. I’m on the verge of buying one.
    Take care of yourself. Hope to see you soon.
    Best David

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