Lens Blog on Rashid Talukder & the War of Independence


Never a day passes at the Drik Picture Agency where I work without a mention of Rashid Talukder’s name. He is our honoured and much loved photographer. A heroic and legendary, he documented the Bangladesh’s War of Independence.  I didn’t know him when he was alive but only found him in his images.  And so why do we talk about him daily – because we are trying to classify and catalogue his vast collection of over 100,000 images he trusted and left to Drik.

A young boy leads a procession during the mass uprising of 1969. in Dhaka,The boy was killed shortly after the photo was taken. Photo Rashid Talukder/Drik

A young boy leads a procession during the mass uprising of 1969. in Dhaka,The boy was killed shortly after the photo was taken. Photo Rashid Talukder/Drik

He pops up at various points – on a wall at Drik, a request for licensing an image, in “The Birth Pangs of a Nation,”; in the documentary on the Chobi Mela festival, in a Fine Art Print …  I cannot pass his photo of the young boy activist without saying “ am so sorry” to the little boy who was shot soon after the photo was taken.  I remember how nauseated I felt when I saw the gruesome image of the decapitated head. How much more awful would it have been to keep a steady hand ad stay focused on the photo documentation of the war.

Then there are the gentle fleeting moments of life in rural Bangla he captured. The young  boy and his goat; the teenage wives on a wooden grinding mill with their babes; the row of ducks that stopped a military truck dead in its track;  or the tortoise ambling along at his own speed..

I am sorry, I never got to know him, though I remember how he was feted when he received the Life Time achievement at the Chobi Mela festival in 2006.  Wish we could call him to ask more about the large number of photos he didn’t caption, but today in the Lens blog he speaks to us.

Thanks James for introducing him to the West and the rich legacy of his.

See a selection of photos and read more of what James Estrin has to say on the  “Images of Independence, Finally Free

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