Life is a wheel or so they say and the grandmother helping her old husband to the bathroom while their grandchildren play by their side, shows it better than anything else. The old man passed away fifteen days later but there are plenty of young to take his place. Old Dhaka May 2005. © Munem Wasif
Statement: Puran Dhaka, or Old Dhaka, was a rather unlikely subject. For it existed all around me. I live here. It was almost trying to find the unseen within the everyday. Old Dhaka had made me appreciate properly cooked greasy food, the sleaziest of slang, and it is where I had come to rediscover the same small town pulse of holding on to things than letting go. My own childhood years in Comilla, a small district town surrounded by mostly rural settings and steep with customs and old world lifestyle, had made me not just appreciate but rather feel at home with relations which emboldened from the duration of time spent and bordered on tradition more than trend. But through the frames, my Old Dhaka started to divulge unseen lives and throw back at me more agonising questions of assimilation, and even worse, deletion.
Munem Wasif is a documentary photographer born in Bangladesh (1983), graduate of Pathshala. Wasif started his photographic career as a feature photographer for the Daily Star, a leading English daily of Bangladesh. After that, he works two years with DrikNEWS (International news photo agency) as a staff photographer. Now he is represented through Agency VU in Paris.
His photographs have been published in numerous national and international publications including Le Monde 2, Sunday times Magazine, Politiken, Io Donna, Days Japan, L’expresso, Librations’, Courier international, Photo, British journal of photography, PDN, Lens Culture, Area, Camera work, Himal Southasian, Asian Geographic, Photo District News, Zonezero, PDFX12 and The Daily Star.
In 2008, he won International Award for concerned photography F25 of the Fabrica for his extensive work on Old Dhaka. In 2007, he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in the Netherlands which was followed by the workshop for Asian photographers at the Angkor Photo Festival where he was guided by photographers like Antoine D’agata. Recently he won “City of Perpignan Young Reporter’s Award 2008” at VISA POUR L’IMAGE in France.
His work is exhibited worldwide including Palais de tokoy, International Photography Biennial of the Islamic World in Iran, Fotofreo- festival of photography in Australia, Chobimela in Bangladesh, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Japan and VISA POUR L’IMAGE in Perpignan. In 2009 Won Prixpictet Commission to record a project on Water in Bangladesh.