Uplanders Watery Struggle

by Saad Shahriar

In Cox’s Bazaar and its surrounding islands like Sonadia, Kutubdia and Maheshkhali, the fishing industry is a profitable business. For many local islanders, it is their main profession. Others are equally attracted to this trade, leading to a steady trickle of migrant workers from adjoining areas.

Just before dawn, the sun is yet to peep. The shadowy figures of some fishermen and some fishing boats emerge. All around there is din and bustle; sensible is the iron spirit of some hectic fishermen. These boats crowd to the shore often after being off shore for several days. Thousands of fishermen survive solely on these boats. These fishermen weave an epic of distress and sorrow floating in the indifferent tide and ebb of sea with their bitter sweat and saline waters. They battle with reoccurring cyclones, international piracy, and fluctuating socioeconomics – all unmatched nemeses. And yet, morning after morning, they return home to the sea.

Saad Shahriar

Saad Shahriar is a photojournalist born in Chawkbazar, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

In college he majored in Journalism & Media Studies and also took a course in Photography. He has worked for the DrikNEWS international news photo agency as a photographer. Now he is working in NEW AGE (one of the largest daily Newspaper of Bangladesh) as a staff photojournalist from April 2010-Present.

His photographs were selected in REUTERS weekly showcase “TOP PICTURES” several times and also reviewed by REUTERS Editor’s Blog “OUR take on YOUR take.” His work has also been published in Social Documentary.Net, TRIBAL TRUTH, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Online and CNN. His photos are regularly featured in renowned national daily newspapers in Bangladesh.

In June, 2009 one of his pictures titled “ARCHITECTURE OF SCARCITY” became one of the winner of the competition “SECURITY IN DHAKA” organized by GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit). It was later exhibited in GTZ conference hall & GOETHE-INSTITUT, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In August 2010 one of his photo selected for GUARDIAN’S Travel Photo Competition as “BEST IMAGE” theme: LOCAL LIFE. After that he participated in a weeklong Photojournalism workshop which has trained by ZEPPELIN (photo agency of France) in February, 2011. By completing the workshop and developing a reportage project as a successful participant he has been contracted with ZEPPELIN and SIPA PRESS as a photographer in February, 2011.

His areas of interests are cultural documentation, especially those that involve political crises. He has worked extensively on tribes in the hill tracks of Bangladesh and on urban problems prevalent in the cities of Bangladesh.

All images copyright © Saad Shahriar