By Salam Jones
Bangladesh Diaries is a photographic journal of Salam Jones’ travels in Bangladesh. It is a product of over three months of travelling in the densely populated nation of 150 million people taking photographs of their way of life.
With over 300 pages covering towns and districts spanning from Kushtia to Dhaka to Sylhet, the book captures life as it is in this tiny country, featuring the places, the people and the foods of Bangladesh – all things that make up the culture of a country.
It captures the men, women and children of the country. It features husbands, wives, students, workers, farmers, rickshaw drivers, beggars to name just a few of the categories of people presented in the book.
The book shows people in their day to day situations without masking the reality of what that is and this is what brings the country to life in a most unique way. The rickshaw driver checking his Facebook page whilst waiting for customers to the fisherwoman casting her net in the river to catch fish all show the side of the country that you would not find depicted in a travel brochure or country guide.
The lush green paddy fields and the beautiful country side photos portray the extreme natural beauty of the country. The pictures of the various fruits, vegetables and other foods show the immense variety of food that is produced in the country. The photos of people in their daily work shows the dedication that they have towards providing for their families. All of this brought together produces a wonderful book that captures the life and soul of Bangladesh. A country with so much potential, if only her people knew!
The stark reality of poverty shows in almost all of the photographs. As beautiful as the country may be it’s inhabitants struggle with poverty on a daily basis and this shows up in many of the photos that Salam Jones’ has presented in this book.
On a presentation level, the book is presented well, with photographs of various sizes covering the pages. Some sections are accompanied by text explaining the place and the context in which the photos were taken. In other places there are just small captions under the photos to tell the readers what they are. Some photos needed no captions to explain them and therefore were left to the reader to decipher its meaning.
Given that Salam Jones has had no formal training in photography, most of the images that he has presented are of a high quality and of good composition. My only qualm would be with the editors / printers who seemed to have cut the upper section of people’s heads in a few of the photographs. Also some of the photographs that are across a double page spread came out a bit blurry.
All in all this is a wonderful book that brings together the places, the people, the food and the general culture of Bangladesh and Bangladeshis. I would recommend it as a gift, particularly for those that have never been to Bangladesh, or some who came from Bangladesh but haven’t been back in some time.
The book is priced at £20 RRP with all of the proceeds going towards helping the street children and orphans of Bangladesh. You can buy a copy online at the link below or from some of the stockists noted below.
Also available from:
Brick Lane Books, 166 Brick Lane E1
Taj Stores Brick Lane, 112 Brick Lane, London E1
Blackstone Whitechapel, East London Mosque, London E1
Blackstone Luton, 162 Dunstable Rd, Luton LU1.
05 December 2016