GMB Akash

Dhaka, Bangladesh


Bangladeshi, 1977

GMB Akash has received dozens of international awards and his work has been featured in publications worldwide including National Geographic, Vogue, TIME, Sunday Times, Newsweek, GEO, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Marie Claire and The Economist. He has travelled to more than 50 countries and in 2002 became the first Bangladeshi photographer to be selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass.

Since then he has received the Young Reporters Award from the Scope Photo Festival in Paris (2004) and a World Press Photo award (2006) and released his principal photo book 'First Light'. In 2007 he became the first Bangladeshi to be selected for PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers. He won the 7th Vevey International Photography Grant from Switzerland in 2009 and was named 'Travel photographer of the Year' at the International Travel Photographer of the Year Competition in the same year.

Akash leads workshops on documentary, street and travel photography. He is the founder and managing director of First Light Institute of Photography based in Dhaka. He has also conducted workshop in India, Switzerland and Italy.

Akash has been a speaker at numerous international events such as the fifth Global Investigative Journalism Conference, held at Lillehammer, Norway in 2008, TEDxOporto in Porto, Portugal and the 7th Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In 2011 Nikon chose Akash as one of eight influential photographers in the Asia Pacific region. His book 'Survivors', the result of a ten year project, was published in 2012. The proceeds from the book and subsequent exhibitions have gone to helping the subjects in the book set up small businesses to make them and their families self-sufficient.

Akash has also served on numerous international juries at event such as the Friends of the Earth International Photo Competition (Netherlands), the Fine Art Photography Award (UK) and the Siena International Photography Awards (Italy). He has had solo exhibitions in Bangladesh, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, New York and Greece. He lives in Dhaka.

"I'm always passionate about poking the world's 'spinal chord'. 20 years ago I discovered that I could underline our lives and our awareness by transforming suffering into photographs. Through photography I jot down my heart's language"– GMB Akash

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Click here for a brief overview of GMB Akash's work.

Through images and stories from 20 countries, across every continent, a collaboration between Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and Panos Pictures shows the importance of adequate sanitation for women and girls.

With three quarters of its landmass a mere ten metres or less above sea level, Bangladesh faces multiple challenges from rising sea levels and increased volumes of water flowing through its waterways.

Across South Asia, older men and women use an extract made out of the flowering henna plant to dye their hair and beards.

Underage sex workers in Bangladesh face a new horror: they are being forced to take a drug designed to fatten cattle for market.

According to UNICEF, more than 7.

In Bangladesh’s tanneries, noxious chemicals and a complete absence of health and safety regulations has been causing generations of workers to die an early death for an industry that is worth $ 1 billion a year.

One year after the collapse of the Rana Plaza shopping and factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which over 1,100 people died, GMB Akash meets some of the survivors and their families.

In rural Bangladesh, a group of enterprising women are driving a small-scale information revolution and empowering themselves in the process.

The collapse of Rana Plaza, a shopping complex on the outskirts of Dhaka which also housed a number of textile factories producing cheap clothing for the Western market, is the worst industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in 1984.

In recent years, Bangladesh has moved from being the world’s shipping scrap yard to becoming a small yet burgeoning exporter of small and medium vessels to former industry leaders such as Germany and Denmark.

Hundreds were killed and millions displaced when Cyclon Aila struck coastal Bangladesh and eastern India.

The devastating fire in one of Dhaka’s busiest textile factories which left 117 people dead and hundreds more scarred and injured is the worst factory fire in the country’s history.

Intrepid passengers ride on top of Bangladeshi trains.

The funeral rites for the world’s largest ships are read on the beaches of the Indian subcontinent.

Since 2006, the Gulabi Gang, a female vigilante group with members across northern India, has been actively campaigning against domestic violence, child marriage and official corruption on behalf of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged women.