Mentally Ill People by Main Uddin

A very calm lady. This is the room where she is always chained. She stays in the posture, in the same manners as the hours go by and never speaks to anybody. Mental patient is being treated in a private hospital at Kishorganj run by Dr. Sultan Uddin Bhuiyan. “Medallion” and “Blessed Water” from traditional spiritual elites are the only type of treatment available. February, 1999 Kishorgonj.

At the first glance she appears to be just another ordinary woman; you wouldn’t even realize that she is mentally ill and going through treatment, if the chains weren’t on her feet. When I checked on her again after working in the rehab center for some hours, I found her sitting with the same numbness. Her posture didn’t change even the slightest bit. God knows what was going on in her mind!

Main Uddin born in March 1961.
Presently, he is a Team Leader & photographer in Drik Picture Library’s studio department, and a tutor at Pathshala, The South Asian Institute of Photography. A long time ago Main Uddin, a young graduate during those days, used to travel in search of malnutrition –collecting data on its effects among children.  He worked for a renowned non-government organization funded by one of the UN agencies. He revisited a few of the villages during a period of three months to find some of his ‘case studies’ dead and buried. According to Main that was the end of his career as a data collector. He did not want to be recorder of human agony if he could do nothing to change the situation. He did not want to be a lone gazer, but one who looks into things with a love that is generated by a will to do something positive. He chose to look through the lenses of a camera that for him till that day was just another hobby. He was determined to change this powerful tool into an object that brought lives together.

Main’s journey into the visual world around us is a political agenda – it is like that of a story-teller in search of elements that need to be bombarded with visual allusions from unseen domains so that reinterpretation of our visual experiences can be possible. In this particular age where a specific form of ‘sanity’ makes us blind to almost everything beyond our momentary existences huddled inside shredded nights and days, Main’s search begins with the ‘non-existences’ and the ‘non-specific’ – it makes a journey into the tormented terrains of the ‘abnormal’ and the ‘forgotten’ – areas that we have categorized as ‘dangerous’. It is not just a search, it is a process of reinstating beliefs using visual-motifs that associate with the abnormal, residing somewhere in the subconscious, that we erase from our lives. He shakes the foundation of our complacent existences and through his photography forces us to relate as active visual signifiers to a world we try to destroy from within ourselves.

2007: New Internationalist, August 2007 /2005: SFADP in Bangladesh. GTZ /2002: INS & OUTS, Medecins sans frontiers-Holland. /2002: MSF – Holland, Magazine. /2002: Memories of mankind 2002, Humanity photo Award book, China./2000 –20001: Nikon photo contest international year book , japan./2000: New Internationalist, October, UK./2000: Save the children\Uk (summery reportof the consultation on ‘state violence against children’). /2000: USPG website, UK. /1999: The Arts world wide, UK. /1999: Annual report, Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation) /1997: Tradecraft-a catalogue featuring fashion , interiors , handicraft , paper& cards, uk. /1995: Photographs published in UNICEF brochure on south Asian girl children,/Hardships & Joys, Nepal.

Photographic Awards:
2009 : 1st Prize, Maati Imaging Bangladesh Photo contest, Dhaka /2004 : 2nd Prize, HSBC World Environment Day Photo Competition, Dhaka. /2003: CPS 2nd International Photo Contest & Exhibition, Best local entry – BPS gold & CPS medal. /2002: Humanity photo Award – Photo Story Competition, Nomination Award, China Folklore Photographic Association & UNESCO. /2002: Who Photo Contest “Images of Health & Disability”, Switzerland. /2000-2001: Nikon Photo Contest International, Honorable Mention, Japan. /2000: Humanity Photo Award – Photo Story Competition, Nomination Award., China Folklore Photographic Association & UNESCO. /2000: Honorable Mention, 6th National Photo Contest, Organized by CPS, Bangladesh. /2000: Two Honorable Mention, 1st National Photo Contest, Organized by PCS, Bangladesh. /1999: 2nd Prize,”Women of Bangladesh “Photo Contest, Organized by Portrait magazine, Chittagong.



Mentally Ill People


6 thoughts on “Mentally Ill People by Main Uddin

  1. blade . . . says:

    Main bhai I like your picture at the same time I remember your another picture it’s title “Daughter of Earth” It is also my favorite picture. Can you remember which picture? I just quoted Lewis Hine statement “Using the camera for a social agenda, BUT this does not mean using camera to distort the truth. You picture always making truth. I salute you…………….monirul

  2. adnan says:

    this photo represents a very common scene of treating a mental patient in out country. very often, someone doesn’t need to be the proved mental case for having this kind of treatment…

    • monirul alam says:

      …….So that we are not work with them! I think this kind of stories should published world wide. And media can step a good roll about this issue………….monirul

  3. adnan says:

    ……yes, its true that media can take effective steps against this kind of uncertain treatment not only the mental cases but also physical cases. but, I am thinking another matter. today morning while i was reading a news paper, i saw lots of add of herbal, unani, hekimi including some other unconventional treatment for mostly venereal diseases, promise tremendous performance in bed etc etc. here, my question is why the newspapers are publishing these adds where there are no guarantee that the health won’t go to dog using these herbal medicines. why the newspapers can not take steps against these treatment by ‘not publishing them’?

    • monirul alam says:

      I think it’s depending on newspaper policy. you mention “uncertain treatment” I think sometime this kind of uncertain treatment is usefull specially remote area where the medical science is not present or expensive and my another point is that herbal, unani, hekimi treatmet is our treadation and sometime it’s effective. Fo exhample china is very populler this kind of Herbal treatment. BUT we are against all kinds of Fake treatment. I think Photographer can pursue it. That’s way I am saying it should published world wide………….monirul

  4. Amirul Rajiv says:

    @Moin bhai: Its one of the early documentary which made us excited about photography. The exhibition at Shilpokala was a great experience for me and my friends. But that’s the only work we got from you! Why you stooped producing new stories?

    @Adnan: For someone a Tabiz can give a power of believe which might not “scientific”. But believe can bring good luck. If my believe is true its not necessarily the others fake. The corporate medical system washes our brain to ignore the local knowledge of Hakim’s!!! I think you already know that news is a form of business, not a commitment for people.

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