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  • Md. Shamim ul Islam

Photodocumenting Bangladesh: The Journey of Md. Shamim ul Islam Through the Lens


Md. Shamim ul Islam, a self-taught street and documentary photographer, hails from the lush green city of Chattagram, Bangladesh. Born on March 18, 1995, his photography journey is a testament to his passion for capturing the essence of human stories photodocumenting Bangladesh.

Shamim's photography is deeply rooted in his desire to unveil the inner narratives of people's lives. Whether wandering through rural landscapes or exploring urban streets, he seeks out ordinary scenes that evoke powerful emotions. With the click of his camera shutter, he freezes these fleeting moments in time, immortalizing them in captivating imagery.

In 2021, winning a photography competition served as a catalyst for Shamim to delve deeper into the realm of pictorial photography. Since then, he has garnered acclaim on both national and international stages, earning recognition from prestigious institutions and competitions worldwide.

Among his notable achievements are winning the UNICEF Water Day Awards in Bangladesh, being named a finalist in the Nikon Photo Contest, and receiving the "Togetherness Photography Award" from the Society of Photographers UK.

These are some of the photographs that have defined his career:

A story of brickfields in Bangladesh

As Chittagong is a hilly area, there are many brick kilns. Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, the demand for bricks is increasing. There is also a huge demand for bricks in Bangladesh. Brickmaking in Bangladesh still uses old inefficient methods and low-quality coal and firewood with high sulfur content as fuel. Therefore, many types of toxic gases including carbon dioxide are being released from these kilns.

Brick kilns are generally operated during the dry season, when rainfall and wind speed are low, further increasing air pollution levels. Brick kiln smoke is one of the major causes of air pollution in urban areas. Under the pressure of growing population and various developmental activities (housing, industrialization, construction of various structures, communication, infrastructure and commercial farming), the agricultural land of the country is the most affected.

Due to non-agricultural use of agricultural land in the country, it is decreasing at the rate of about 1% every year. The work of the workers in the brick kiln starts before the light of dawn. Work goes on non-stop from morning to evening. A labourer earns 200 to 300 taka by making one to one and a half thousand bricks a day, with which they have difficulty in providing food for everyone.

However, they cannot leave the brickyard. Because, his hands and feet are tied in the chains of loans; Even though the mills were closed during the monsoon season, their families survived on the loan money. This is how their life goes.


In Bangladesh southeastern seaport city of Chittagong is one of the main fishing hubs due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal. Chittagong is also the country's premier seaport city and financial centre and for around 400 years, local people have known how to make wooden boats for fishing. For centuries Chittagong has, therefore, also become a key hub for boat building. The industry at the bank of the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong still produces boats mostly in the traditional way. 

According to the boat builders, the wooden boats are usually built to be 20 meters in length, about 4 meters wide and 3 meters high. These vessels can cater to 20 seamen working at sea for more than 20 days. In such boats, there are two rooms, one for the engine and another for storing fishing nets and food for the crew. It takes 20 days to test the boat, including water tests, and only then can a boat be declared seaworthy. The total process from production through testing can take three months.



Md. Shamim ul Islam was born in 18th march of 1995, Shamim is a self-taught street and documentary photo artist from the green city of Chattagram (Bangladesh ), he likes to represent the inner story of the people. When he roams around, especially in the rural area and finds a very ordinary scene can creates a very strong emotion and instantly tries to push the shutter of his camera.

Winning a photography competition in the year 2021 gave me a spark to pursue Pictorial photography and later on, he was an avid winning 30up national and international awards including the

• UNICEF Water Day Awards (Bangladesh). (Winner)

• Nikon Photo Contest 2022-2023( FInalist)

• Togetherness Photography Award” from the Society of Photographers UK. (Winner)

• Visions International Photo Awards (Winner)

• Jula Photo contest ( FInalist)

• World sight day 2023 Photo Competition (Finalist)

• ROSL photography competition exhibition (2022, finalist)

• USAID, Grid. wiego, iswa, heading with a seat at the table (Report publications on plastic pollution, published)



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