BAnglo-Saxon photographer Mithail Afrige Chowdhury spent six years on a series featuring shipbreaking workers in his country. This image was taken in Sadarghat, Dhaka. The man he captured smiled and gave him permission to share it as he walked onto dry land, from where Chowdhury was firing.
“His name is Sulaiman, and there are thousands of men like him who engage in extremely dangerous occupations. Ship breakers dismantle old ships into spare parts for recycling or disposal at a site laden with toxic waste. They have no safety training or equipment, and no ability to protect themselves from injury or death,” Chowdhury says.
Elsewhere in Bangladesh, Chowdhury notes, people work in quarries and construction sites lifting and carrying heavy loads, while others make a living in the glass and brassware industry, where they are exposed to high temperatures and heavy, sharp tools. “Their pay is extremely low, especially compared to the risk,” he says.
Chowdhury often shoots outright and says his subjects rarely notice he’s there. He used an iPhone 12 Pro Max, followed by some basic contrast, sharpening, and highlight adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. “The color, light and geometry of these places take me back, but raising awareness among policy makers and our government is my main focus.”