He started off small. But those who do big things in their lives usually do. That's the great thing about 'star' people- they start off with big dreams and small steps. “I came from a family of a lower socio-economic background. But we always did whatever we were passionate about. My father was a broadcast journalist for as long as I'd known him. I too, was taught to follow my dreams,” says Anik Rahman.
Anik is a Bangladeshi Photojournalist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He studied in New Model High School, then Rifles Public College, and eventually earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management Information System from Eastern University. A son of a freedom fighter and broadcast journalist of Bangladesh Betar during 1971, Anik grew up with an interest in war & politics, listening to engrossing stories told by his father, along with the many chilling documentaries they would watch together. But even then, it took Anik, like most of us, a while to find his true calling.
“I thought music was it- my thing. When I was in school and college, I was fascinated with music. I even formed a band, and we would mostly sing on social issues, politics, and taboos. But then when we all had higher education to worry about, we eventually broke up.” Still hoping to continue music, Anik went on to join another band- an instrumental one this time. But then, after the untimely death of his father, he had to settle down and get a job. “For the sake of survival, I joined Nokia first, and then People's Radio. But I was still trying to find my true calling.”
Anik had a lot of photographer friends. Even the drummer he was in a band with would sometimes take photos using a camera in front of him. A sudden blast of intrigue took over him when he decided he wanted to take a few snaps here and there. He set off with a small camera, and in one single day, Anik ended up taking 2200 photographs. “There was a spark I could not ignore! I felt charged and enthusiastic with that camera in my hands. I knew I wasn't great at taking photos, but it sparked a flame that was definitely not ready to burn out. I decided to keep trying taking photographs, while working at the People's Radio,” he says.
And thus began Anik's long-term relationship with his camera. He finally found his true calling. After realising his passion for the art of photography, he quit his job and went on to doing the thing he loved most- taking photos. “I try to document war, politics, turmoil, tragedy. I believe these moments should be recorded as much as possible. These are the proofs we will have of human sufferings throughout the ages.”
Attending the Eddie Adam's workshop, a yearly 4 day October event with 100 hand-picked students along with 100 photojournalism veterans meeting in New York state, and getting the chance to be mentored by photographer Matt Black, Anik's style improved furthermore. “I couldn't have even gotten that far without the help of photographers from my own country who have critiqued me, advised me and given me hope. Some names like GMB Akash, MR Hasan, have really helped me come this far.”
At the end of 2013, he started working on the victims of political violence of Bangladesh. He named the photo-story “Puppet Show”, which had been published, exhibited and awarded internationally. Besides human rights issues, he has covered environmental conditions and ferry capsising in Bangladesh. In 2015, he has worked on the earthquake in Nepal. He also loves covering religious and cultural events. He is currently working on a project called 'The Death of Brahmaputra' which is also an Instagram page. The project highlights the dire situation of the rivers in Bangladesh, holding focus on one of the major rivers of the country- Brahmaputra.
He has worked for many news agencies, magazines, and NGO's including Agence France-Presse, Nur Photo Agency, Zuma Press, Redux Pictures, Vice News, SOS (Nepal & Belgium), Izel, IHS and Asha. His works have been published in Wall Street Journal, The Gurdian, Newsweek, The Sunday Times, Vice News, Wired, National Geographic Magazine, Dodho Magazine, Art Photo Feature, Private Magazine, Documentary Photo Review, The Quiet American, France TV and The Daily Star. His works have been exhibited globally, including Bangladesh, India, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Serbia, Bulgaria, UK and USA.
Anik has also bagged himself more than just a couple of awards and accolades through these 4 years of photography, including 1st Place in Photo Essay, FCCT – Light Rocket Asian Photo Contest in 2015, 2nd Place, Open Border Festival, Netherlands, 3rd Place in General News in 2014, 72nd Pictures of the Year International, USA in 2015, Honourable Mention in Photojournalism - Professional category at 9th International Color Awards, USA in 2016, along with many more.
His turning point, according to him, was the Eddie Adam's workshop. During that time, he allowed himself to learn, to grow, to take criticism and make something beautiful out of it. “And of course, I remember what Matt Black kept telling me, which I would also like to share with everyone who aspires to be a photographer- in a time where there is a war of mega-pixels and everyone is taking photographs, you instead must spend your time and think. You can make photographs out of anything, but you need to first think, think, and think, about how you want to communicate with the world.”