Lifetime awards great honour: winners

Pioneering woman photographer Sayeda Khanam and pioneering portrait photographer Nasir Ali Mamun, who were honoured with the lifetime achievement awards by Chobi Mela IX, said that they considered the accolades as recognition of their endeavours. 

They received the awards from cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor at the opening ceremony of the ninth edition of the photography festivals held at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Friday. 

Sharing her feelings, the octogenarian photographer, Sayeda Khanam, told New Age that the prize giving ceremony would be a fond moment in her life. ‘I’m really happy. It’s a great recognition to my work.’

Born in 1937 in a Muslim family in Pabna, Sayeda Khanam began her journey with a camera in 1956. While it was an unthinkable career for any woman, Khanam joined the then popular magazine Begum as a photojournalist. 

From then on, Khanam’s pictures began to appear in the pages of many newspapers like Pakistan Observer, Morning News, Dainik Bangla, Dainik Purbadesh, Sangbad, Ittefaq, Pakistan Khobor and others. 

She covered important events as a press photographer like official visit of Queen Elizabeth II in Dhaka in 1961. 

‘It was difficult for a woman to take photography as her profession and I’m happy because I could take the challenge,’ Sayeda Khanam said.

An alumnus of Dhaka University, Sayeda Khanam also said in her kaleidoscopic career she took photographs of many dignitaries and celebrities like Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Zainul Abedin, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong and others. 

Nasir Ali Mamun, who is considered to be the father of portrait photography in Bangladesh, said, ‘I have received many awards, including few lifetime achievement awards, so far. But this award from Chobi Mela is very special to me.’ 

Mamun, who began his journey as a portrait photographer in 1972, said, ‘When I began my journey, portrait photography was more or less ignored in Bangladesh. And the portraits I used to see in newspapers and books did not attract me. So I decided to be a portrait photographer.’ 

Mamun told New Age that he brought about changes to the concept of portrait photography in Bangladesh. ‘I introduced artistic portrait photography in Bangladesh as I love to play with light and shade with my camera.’

Mamun, in his long career has photographed almost all major writers, artists and celebrities of the country including SM Sultan and Shamsur Rahman. 
The late poet Shamsur Rahman fondly used to call him ‘poet of camera’. 

source: Newage