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Inside Shahidul Alam’s Journey from Photographer to PrisonerIt was only by chance that Shahidul Alam began taking photographs. A chemistry doctoral student in London, Alam purchased a Nikon FM for a friend while traveling in the United States and Canada in 1980. The friend couldnt reimburse him, so he kept the camera. I started using it, Alam, 63, tells TIME in Dhaka. It was when I recognized, working as a social activist, how powerful images were, that I decided Id become a photographer. Now, he has become a one-man vanguard in the fight for civil rights in his native Bangladesh, from early days capturing protests against former Bangladeshi despot General Hussain Muhammad Ershad to his more recent work documenting student demonstrations in Dhaka earlier this year

work that saw him become a prisoner of conscience after he was beaten, and detained by state authorities.  A girl crouches near the remains of her home in the aftermath of a deadly storm in Anwara, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 1991. Shahidul Alam—Drik Alams career has always been about more than releasing a shutter and taking a photo. In 1989, he co-founded the Drik Picture Library with his longtime partner, the anthropologist and writer Rahnuma Ahmed, to recruit and represent Bangladeshi photojournalists as a popular uprising swelled to remove Ershad from power the following year. We were entering a battle, he says. A battle for social justice. And if thats what we needed to do, we needed warriors. Related Stories  

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World 香港示威者在時代雜誌2019年年度風雲人物經讀者投票獲勝   The institute has since become a regional hub for free speech advocacy, and Alam built on its success. In 1998, he founded the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, a fully-fledged photo academy, and Chobi Mela, Asias first international photography festival, in 2000. He became the first person of color to chair the World Press Photo jury, in 2003, and has received numerous accolades, including the Shilpakala Padak, Bangladeshs highest artistic award. Woman wading in flood waters, Kamalapur, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1988. Shahidul Alam—Drik Alams own photos portray the intimate in the political a woman casting a vote in Bangladeshs first elections in 1991, or rhythms of life among remote indigenous communities. His long-running series Migrant Soul documents laborers from sugar plantations in India to Malaysias Petronas Towers to the U.K, while last years Embracing the Other tackled Islamophobia and extremism, and was exhibited inside Dhakas Bait Ur Rouf mosque. He also fought to challenge stereotypes. Most celebra中特名词解释 ted photojournalists are white Westerners, he says, accustomed to presenting countries like Bangladesh through the lens of scarcity and suffering. In 2007, he set up a photo agency covering what is often called the third or developing world, or the Global South. Alam prefers the term Majority World. Another initiative, Out of Focus, teaches photography to disadvantaged children.   A woman in Lalmatia casts her vote behind a makeshift screen after the removal of Ershad, during the first free and fair election in Bangladesh in 1991. Shahidul Alam—Drik 

In 2010, he showed a haunting conceptual series on extrajudicial killings by Bangladeshs Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The deaths were often blamed on crossfire, a euphemism that lent the exhibitions title. Police attempts to shut it down sparked protests. 

That same commitment to

social action put Alam in jeopardy in August. Dhaka seethed with protests after speeding buses killed two teenagers, with thousands of students choking the citys streets to demand road safety improvements. Some erected makeshift traffic stops to inspect drivers licenses. The protests expanded, confronting deeper grievances with the government, including corruption, inequality and impunity. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and mobile Internet access was severed. People rejoice after the fall of General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 4, 1990. Shahidul Alam—Drik Alam live-streamed the uproar on Facebook, and on Aug. 5, he told Al Jazeera that police had stood by while armed gangs attacked students. Hours later, over a dozen plainclothes police burst into Alams apartment and placed him under arrest. Alam alleges he was beaten; when he appeared barefoot in court, he was unable to walk unassisted. He was detained for a total of 107 days.   Get The Brief. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now.    Thank you! For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder. The incident trigged outrage around the world. Public figures like Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy picked up the Free Shahidul Alam campaign. U.N. officials and the European Parliament demanded his release. In October, while still in detention, Alam received the 2018 Lucie Humanitarian Award. He credits the outpouring of support with securing his release on Nov. 20, and saving his life and says his case was representative of a dispiriting global trend. Last week, Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera who organized a guerrilla showcase of Alams Crossfire at Londons Tate Modern while he was in detention was arrested over her opposition to a dystopian new art censorship edict. The world over, journalism is under threat, he says. Whether youre a teacher, a dancer, a painter, or a journalist, each one of us needs to be constantly fighting. But tensions are brewing ahead of Bangladeshs Dec. 30 election, which could see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina win a third consecutive term (her last victory, in 2014, came unopposed after the opposition boycotted the poll). In Dhaka, opposition-aligned journalists have been assaulted and arrested in recent months. Alam still faces up to 14 years in prison for publishing propaganda against the government under Bangladeshs Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), a draconian measure that has been used over 1,200 times to muzzle dissent, according to Amnesty International. The veteran photojournalist is undaunted. When Bangladeshis vote this month, hell be back in the streets, shooting and live-streaming. Im a journalist, he says, You do what you do.   Shahidul Alam raises a fist to show a #FREESHAHIDUL bracelet supporters made for him to protest his detention. Moises Saman—Magnum Photos for TIME

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is story is part of TIMEs Person of the Year 2018 issue. Discover more stories here.  Most Popular on TIME 1 Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 170 in China 2

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