“Akash is a photographer from Bangladesh with a brave golden heart. His soul is looking to awake and help the humanity to become sensitive to each other. His pictures are a reflection of a profound Love for the humanity. “
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Akash was Born in : 1977
Language spoken : Bangla, English, Hindi, Urdu
“To underline our lives, our awareness, I persist to treasure and poke the ‘spinal chord’ of the world, by transforming suffering into photographs. For me, photography is my language to access, to communicate, to identify and mostly to make injustice and suffering to be heard. Through photography I only jot down my heart’s language. The best part about being a photographer is that I’m able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless and to bring their identities to the forefront which gives meaning and purpose to my own life. As a multimedia Journalist, I have travelled intensively in 22 countries and received more than 70 international awards and my work has been featured in over 80 major, international publications including: National Geographic, Vogue, Time, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Geo, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Fader, Brand Ein, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Colors, The Economist, The New Internationalist, Kontinente, Amnesty Journal, Courier International, PDN, Die Zeit, Days Japan, Hello, and Sunday Telegraph of London.” Read more about his biography in http://www.gmb-akash.com/about.php
1. What is the meaning of your name?
Akash : The meaning of my name is sky.
2. Are you religious?
Akash: Bringing joy to one heart with love is better than one thousand repetitive prayer reciting`s. I do believe that All mighty live in our heart.
3. How you begin to like the camera and the digital photo?
Akash: “In my surroundings & the place I brought up no one can ever think a boy can devote him 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. In my full childhood days, in yester years I would like to become ‘Mother Teresa’. My father use to call me ‘insane’ on my ambition. My mother wants me to become Doctor, while I was struggling with their choices I started loving photography. I hold the old camera of my father & started taking pictures unconsciously in 1997. Till then I do not stop clicking for a single day. I am represented by Panos Pictures. And as a multimedia journalist I am giving my efforts for making images and video documentation both.”
4. What is your favorite camera ‘?
Akash: Canon 5d mark II, 24-70 mm, 24mm , 35 mm lens
5. What means for you transforming suffering into photographs?
Akash: As a photographer, I feel it is my task to show the world these “unseen realities” and to shed light on what most of us never see with our own eyes. I want to show the things that simply “ shouldn’t be.” For many years I have been working on child labor as part of this project – situations where childhoods are sold for less than a dollar a day – and gone forever. Once an 8-year old balloon maker told me, “I took some damaged balloons for my little sister; I have no time to play. I have only time to support my parents,” I realized at that point I should turn my lens on lives like her’s.
My 10 years project and book “Survivors” aims to move beyond documentation only. My goal is to bring whatever help possible to such people as these. To this end, I have formed a small, but growing activist group, comprised of friends and well-wishers who wish to personally “make a difference” – to break the circle of poverty that these lives endure. I have engaged in specific projects for certain groups: targeting one slum / brothel / rehabilitation center and providing help for their long-term improvement. Activities include gifting business to survivors families. Through my coming book “Survivors” I have already taken another smaller step for assisting ten families whose picture has depicted in the book. I am actively monitoring their changes in life last couple of months. It is truly a matter of great bliss to watch a factory boy, sitting beside his father in their own vegetable shop. Their smile is priceless to me, compare to the grim portrays I have taken in a dead factory of this child laborer. Still I believe I will go to search all these pretty faces in those haunted factories to take them in front of the world. I am confident my activity will send one more Munna to school again & thus the counting starts now. Giving them self confidence, allowing their wills in actions and strengthens their broken dreams are truly challenging tasks. But I am trying restlessly & hope to make a benchmark. In this wish I planned, 25% price of the book “Survivors” will go directly to assist the endeavors of some of the people and their families depicted in the book.
6. What is your point of view about the movie “The life of Pi”?
Akash: This movie was magical and refreshing in so many ways. On one hand, it’s just a miraculous survival story of a boy and a tiger drifting in the open ocean of life. On the other hand, its so much more. There are things in this world we may never come to understand.
7. Who are your favorite Photographers and why?
Akash: The list is long and never will end. I love to see works of every photographer I am able to reach. Looking at others work and seeing their reflection is very important I believe. Among that long list Steve MacCurry and James Nachtwey are my favorite. And all other Photographers who are asking the (it will be the) world to wake up.
8. Who is your favorite Artist? Why?
Akash: Leonardo da Vinci and many others. As an artist he was extremely curious, and loved experimenting. The natural world absolutely fascinated him. One of his notebooks (Codex Alanticus) is mainly composed of his sketches water related. He had been fascinated by the force when he saw a huge storm as a little boy. It fascinated him that such force could be one of the basis for survival yet had the power to destroy things as well. Even recently I came across of a work which inspires me a lot too. Looking at colorful paintings of Lisa Fittipaldi, I can’t believe that she is blind! There are lot of inspiration in the world we live in.
9. Which writers influence your life?
Akash: Jalaluddin Rumi influences a lot. I love reading many of the writers. I love travel stories,poems and everything that are close to my heart.
10. When you do a photo exhibition what is your purpose?
Akash: In any of my exhibition my motto is always: To be able to articulate the experiences of the voiceless and to bring their identities to the forefront is my purpose.
11. What do you considered your best image shot ?
Akash: Pardon me for my inability to justify with my images. Each of the images is existence of me. The images are holding me, building me, this GMB Akash. I cannot pick an image and say this is dear to my heart. Nevertheless each image consist my gene and I discover myself in these images. May be it sounds poetic or superficial but I must say, whenever I click I give birth of the moment which has a purpose.
Look image at: Gmb Akash Web – www.gmb-akash.com
12. What is your style?
Akash: Personally I am perfectionist. Unless I could not evince the feelings of the photograph through my camera, the photograph seems meaningless to me. For me the main challenge is to establish the deepest meaning of the photograph to its viewer’s heart. It takes long time. I wait for the moment; I go to places over and over again. I spend hours and hours for a right moment.
Surprisingly, while I am waiting for something happening expected, I got several shots without anticipation.
13. What is your favorite topic to shot?
Akash: I love human face and their stories. I love the way how I can interpret lines of life from the wrinkle of an old grandmother. People and their stories is my premise. I learn from faces I meet with my camera. As a stranger it takes time to merge with the people, with the community sometime and this is the biggest challenge me as a photographer. By building relation with my camera I fill in the gap between us and thus I pick up untold stories which world needs to be acquainted with.
14. “How long it take you to do a great image shot?”
Akash: For documents ‘a subject/ an issue’ I am covering the project years after years, it is more systematic. It’s been 10 years, I am documenting for ‘Survivors’. I knew that I have to reach to a point when I will exclusively display this body of work and can move for the betterment of ‘certain’ group. And now after 10 years I complete a part of my projection and finally by the setup of the book I am able to finalize it. In case of street photography I basically pick the moment. It is spontaneous and sudden. In this case it is putting me in the right position in the right time.
My rule is – approach for photographing what is happening around you. By constantly repeating everyday what has came to your way. Look around, discover invisible, and cultivate enthusiasm to create a series of work which is out of box. Be unique. Be master.
15. Do you have any particular story when you were making a picture?
Akash: No, I am not at all a heavy planner. I am a travelholic and move with my camera. I cannot pass a day without taking photograph. Every click is important to me. I never know who might be there to see it and who might be absorbing it. But I know I have to show the hidden lights behind the curtain of the deprived world, a hidden light which may shine the world. I keep it very simple; I do only 1% post processing work.
16. Do you consider your photos a message of love?
Akash: Our simple work may be a greatest inspiration to become a better human being each day.
By making some effort in changing the world even if little can find the way of Love.
Photography thus brings love to my world.
17. Do you consider the photo a language itself?
Akash: For me Photography is my language,
to access, to communicate, to identify and mostly to make it heard.
Through photography I only jot down my heart’s language.
18. What is the most positive experience you have in front of the camera?
I see the beauty of people and the human soul in the pictures I take.
And though the circumstances of some of the people I portray may be grim,
back-breaking, depraved, the people themselves are
always remarkable characters and souls.
Download the interview here: An Exclusive Interview with GMB AKASHINTAKASH001en
CONTACT Gmb Akash