“Untold Stories” Part I
My identity is my photography. From the crowd of photographers, I am one who determine to dedicate everything in photography. I could never think a day will come when photography will be only reason to live my life! In my surroundings & the place I brought up no one can ever thought a boy can devote him for photography. In my environs and in the space I was brought up in no one ever thought a boy can dedicate himself for photography. Throughout my childhood I did not have access to photographers, their work, or even a camera. Photography did not exist for me in theory or in practice. I held my father’s old camera and started taking pictures unconsciously in 1997. Since then I have not stopped clicking for a single day. Every day, in every angle, in every corner of my world I keep capturing those miserable souls and kept them in heart of my camera.
© GMB Akash
“Bravery” is the most unexpected power of these children. They work 1 0hrs and more having no protection, no appreciation, no admiration but with a wide smile in their faces. In the resting time, when I took photos I asked them what they will become in future. They randomly said they want to be Doctor, engineer, pilot! I lost my words! They do not even know, the work they are doing will never take them in any of these designation they are dreaming for. One boy from them look at me and said, ‘I will be a photographer like you, will take picture when my boss beats my friend’. I use to close my eyes often in between the conversation.
When I was leaving the working place of children, I ask them what they want to eat. For them bread is the most delicious food. When I back from the place my soul left heavy. After I got Vevey International photography grants in 2010, with some money I bought new dresses and went to them. Happy faces of 65 children, their shouts, their joys, their hugs I even can feel now when I am writing. I could not resist tears for giving them these simple cloths and after receiving their unconditional love makes me so much small.
18 months old Khadeja was suffering from diarrhea in Rayer Bazar slum. Her parents kept her under the sun to ironically cure her. Her condition was bad & malnutrition made it worst. Her parents were no where found near to ask the explanation.
Women protect themselves from the rain at a tea plantation where they work near the village of Elkaduwa. Tea is one of the country’s main export crops. sri lanka, Matale District
“It was rainy season. Female workers of Srilanka were rushing to their work place. I was rushing with them. These ladies were bare foots, clothes were thin. I was wondering how whole day they will work. Suddenly I felt something beating near my knee. I ignored and keep clicking. When I could not bear any more I hurried back to my hotel. I found louse beating. It was bleeding, and I got sick. When I was suffering from pain I recall those ladies who were bare foots & thus they works everyday!”
My friends started calling me “Hijra” Undoubtedly it was shocking for me but I didn’t stop working on trans-genders. It was way too distance to reach as nobody worked before me on this community. It took years to get entry to their door. I patiently keep trying. Mixed with them, talked to them, took gift for them. I tried to understand the basics of their lives. Their ways of life makes them strange characters and granted as alien in the society. Instead of getting warmth from the society, they receive hatred and contempt. Few among them were forced to leave school because of their classmates’ negative attitude towards their feminine behaviors. Their lack of education has so far deprived them of information and any scope of communication with trans-genders all over the world. So they confine themselves to their own small community. They engage themselves in merriment, singing, dancing and thereby hiding their struggles and worries in laughter. After several years of working, I go to the depth of their lives. People laugh at me, make fun of me. But when I meet with them their warmth of admiration give me the courage to depict them in my frame.
In district hospital Accham every day people come to get treatment for HIV. To reach in this remote hospital I have to travel several days. Even people who come for treatment walk two days or more. In those villages you can hardly find male member of the family. In every family some one died in this disease. They have no work there, so they go to India for long time. They bring HIV unconsciously when they come back. Even some ladies come to know that they are HIV positive after of their husband’s death. Their painful stories of surviving could hardly reach to the top.
15 year old Masura Begum at the Fistula Treatment Centre in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Masura developed a fistula after an unsuccessful abortion operation was carried out after she was raped. Over 71,000 women live with fistula in Bangladesh, with the World Health Organisation estimating over 2.5 million cases worldwide. The UNFPA have trained 45 doctors and 30 nurses to treat the disability at the centre in Dhaka. Obstetric fistula, which can occur after days of obstructed labour, is both treatable and preventable, yet it carries with it a huge stigma, and can have devastating consequences, usually killing the baby and leaving the woman with chronic incontinence. Dhaka
Liza is an old sex worker in Tangail brothel. In early childhood her step mother sold her to the brothel. She forgot their name, faces & even where she born. She admire when some one took her photo. When I was taking her photo & listen to her story, this hard hearted lady broke out in tears. She lost her young age, clients hardly come to her. She has no one, without this brothel she has no place to go. Now she works as maid for other sex workers. She was crying in thought of why god punishes her this way. She lost her childhood, she never got love in her life now in old age she has to rotten in this brothel. That time first I thought of buying sewing machines for these kinds of old sex workers. At least they could find a self respect at the end of their lives!
“I am working on old home past many years. “Kontinente” a German magazine published my work on Nepal old home. That old home even did not have sources to give two times food to those old inhabitants. After knowing the fact many people come forward to help them. We raised sufficient fund through mother Teresa Home. When a mother said “I waits for you my child as just like I waits for my son” I feel little. We still keep working for all those great hearts”
“I am in an endless journey towards an infinite route, only to find a real world of humanity. This thirst is eternal. I will keep walking, touching every face I meet by my lens. I will show the world – those unknown stories of sufferings. If a single hand comes to give them a shade then that is the real honor of my sweat” – Gmb Akash