Shafiqul Alam Kiron was the first Bangladeshi photographer to win the prestigious World Press Photo competition in 1999 for his photographs of acid attack victims in Bangladesh.
"When I first saw the World Press Photo Exhibition in the Netherlands, I thought to myself how great it would be if the show would one day be held in my country," said Kiron.
Today, that dream has come true as he came to visit this year's show in Dhaka. Inaugurated on 4 November, Drik Picture Library and World Press Photo Foundation have jointly organised World Press Photo Exhibition 2022 at Drik Gallery.
"I am feeling a different kind of joy today. This exhibition will have a positive impact on the young photographers of Bangladesh. They will be able to learn so much from it," added Kiron.
World Press Photo came to be when a group of Dutch photographers organised a worldwide photography contest in 1955, and exhibited the works to a global audience. The competition and exhibition has been organised annually ever since, and it celebrates the works of the best photojournalists and documentary photographers from around the world.
The 2022 show is currently on its world tour and showcases photo stories from the 65th annual World Press Photo Contest.
This year's competition featured works from six regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, South America, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Out of 64,823 entries by 4,066 photographers from 130 countries, an independent jury selected 24 winners from 23 countries.
From climate change, civil rights, access to education, to the preservation of identity and culture; the exhibits explore diverse perspectives and shed light on powerful and captivating stories from around the world.
"The entire exhibition has to be shown, that is the condition from the World Press. None of the works can be censored. You cannot selectively exclude works, which make you uncomfortable. Drik really was the only place in Bangladesh where we could have this show," said Shahidul Alam, founder of Drik Picture Library.
Ismail Ferdous was the only Bangladeshi photographer whose work is featured in this year's exhibition. Ferdous currently lives in the United States. His work highlighted the lives of immigrant workers in the meatpacking industry, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on them.
"It feels great to have my work exhibited in Dhaka, the place where I started my career as a photographer. It feels like a sign that I am on the right track, and my work has meaning. I hope my photos have an impact on the audience as well," said Ferdous.
This year's global jury board included Tanzim Wahab, festival director of the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, amongst seven members. He also served as the Chair of the regional jury of Asia.
"All photographs highlight stories from around the world. They were selected by juries who have a good understanding of the regions. Context and sensitivity are of the utmost importance," said Joumana El Zein Khoury, Executive Director, World Press Photo.
'Kamloops Residential School' by Amber Bracken was awarded with the World Press Photo of the Year. 'Saving Forests with Fire' by Australian photographer Matthew Abbott was honoured with Photo Story of the Year, 'Amazonian Dystopia' by Brazilian photographer Lalo de Almeida received the Long-Term Project Award, and 'Blood is a Seed' by Isadora Romero from Ecuador received the Open Format Award.
The exhibition is open for all from 3 PM – 8PM until 21 November.
TBS Picks: A selection of photographs from the show with descriptions from the photographers
The Promise by Irina Werning
In August 2020, Antonella (12), who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, vowed to cut her long hair only when she could resume in-person classes at school, which had been suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Antonella said she was offering up her most precious treasure in exchange for her school life back. Her hair was her identity, but she felt lost without school. She said: "When I finally go back to school they will know I'm a different person, I feel like a different person."
In March 2020, the Argentine government had closed schools across the country in a move to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Antonella's school did not fully reopen until September 2021. She cut her hair on 25 September 2021, on the weekend before she returned to classes.
The Cinema of Kabul by Bram Janssen
Culture can also be a casualty of war. Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the government-owned Ariana Cinema in Kabul remained closed, its staff in
limbo, waiting to hear whether the Taliban would allow films to be screened. Male staff
still arrive for work daily, in the hope they will eventually be paid, but Asita Ferdous – the cinema's first female director – was not allowed in.
In early 2022, the cinema remained closed, and women were no longer allowed to be employed there. Asita Ferdous, director of the government-owned Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan, sits at home on 10 November 2021, nearly three months after the Taliban ordered female government employees to stay away from their workplaces.
Evia Island Wildfire by Konstantinos Tsakalidis
Panayiota Kritsiopi cries out as a wildfire approaches her house in the village of Gouves,on the island of Evia, Greece, on 8 August 2021. Wildfires broke out on Evia – Greece's largest island after Crete - in July and August, following the hottest weather Greece had experienced in 30 years. The megafire took almost two weeks to be brought under control. Local reports pointed to global heating and other contributing factors, such as rural depopulation, budget cuts in the fire brigade, and changes in fire management strategies. Kritsiopi is quoted as saying: "At that moment I was shouting not only for myself. For the whole village." In the end, her home remained intact.
Boundaries: Human-Tiger Conflict by Senthil Kumaran
In India, Bengal tigers are considered endangered, with up to 3,000 surviving in the wild. Human settlement, cultivation, and urban development are encroaching on tigers' natural habitat and reducing their prey base. Villages on the perimeters of tiger sanctuaries and reserves are often home to Indigenous communities, who depend on livestock, farming, or the forest for their livelihoods. Conflict arises when tigers kill livestock and occasionally humans, which although rare, usually occurs when angry groups surround tigers who have entered settlements.