“Greetings from the land of smiles,” is Bangladeshi photographer Noor Ahmed Gelal’s typical welcome.
But this simple greeting carries a lot of meaning as Gelal is dedicated to showing the world a side of Bangladesh that he feels is too often misrepresented – the beautiful, diverse and harmonious side of his country.
“Bangladesh is a land of cultural diversity,” Gelal says. “Though most of the people are Muslim, it is a country of communal harmony. Since I also love to work through travel and documentary photography, I want to represent Bangladesh as the culturally diverse land that it is.”
Gelal’s image, “Communal Prayer” won in SIPA’s Open Color category in 2015. The image shows the breaking the fast in a congregation where a section of the Hindu community is preparing to break the daylong fast in one of the local temples at Swamigabag, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Members of the congregation believe fasting will redeem their sins.
“Countless passions in my life are travel and photography,” Gelal says. “A photograph tells millions more than a sentence. I do believe this from the core of my heart. Despite having eye-soothing natural beauty, hardworking happy people and colorful cultural festivals, Bangladesh is not well-represented in the global arena. I try to capture the intricate social fabric represented in people’s work, culture and lifestyle through my photography. I am trying to showcase the positive Bangladesh to the international community.”
Location: Shwamibagh, Dhaka (Bangladesh)
Settings: 1/125 – f/2.8 – ISO 1600