2019 Infinity Award: Special Presentation—Shahidul Alam
Time magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, photographer, writer, and human rights activist Shahidul Alam, obtained a PhD in chemistry from London University before taking up photography. Returning to his native Bangladesh in 1984, he campaigned to bring down autocratic general Hussain Muhammad Ershad. In his pursuit of social justice, he set up the award-winning Drik Picture Library, Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, and Chobi Mela international photography festival. His book My Journey as a Witness has been described by John Morris, the legendary picture editor of Life magazine, as the “most important book ever written by a photographer.” A recognized public speaker, Alam has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale universities. He has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, and Centre Georges Pompidou. His awards include a Lucie Award, as well as the Shilpakala Award, the highest cultural award given to Bangladeshi artists. Alam is the only person of color to have chaired the prestigious international jury of World Press Photo. He is a visiting professor of Sunderland University and an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, he was jailed and tortured for speaking out against his government’s repressive practices.