Having grown up in the small town of Comilla, Munem Wasif’s dream kept changing from becoming a pilot to a cricket player and then a photographer. But none of these choices made his father happy. Later in life he moved to the comparably big city Dhaka. He obtained his diploma in photography from Pathshala, a life changing experience, which made him aware of his stories, gave him a photographic voice to photograph stories such as: the dying industry and afflicted workers of jute and tea, excluded people and disrupted lands due to environmental change and salt water, and the city so close to his heart: Old Dhaka.
Wasif prefers to photograph the people he knows. Therefore his country Bangladesh is his first, and favourite field of investigation. He never finds it a problem to be treated as a storyteller of a humanistic tradition, classical in his photographic approach, as long as it shows compassion and the emotional he experiences when photographing his subjects. With an outlook of a traditional style, he goes against the clichés, going from one direction he allows himself to grow in different directions, like the branches on a tree going their separate ways, yet with the same root of humanistic approach.
Since 2008, he has been represented by Agence Vu in Paris. He was one of the curators of Chobimela VII, International Festival of Photography. Currently he is teaching documentary photography in Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute.
Wasif Munem was awarded a special prize by the Prix Pictet to document the struggles of people in Bangladesh who have lost practically all of their natural resources and ways of life as a result of short-sighted shrimp farming along the coastline. Text by Francis Hodgson.
In this beautiful photobook, we gain an insider's artful and intimate view of the rich variety of daily life in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.