Adrian Whear is a Melbourne street photographer. In February 2019, he travelled to Bangladesh for two weeks. He documented his travel with artistic storytelling images and this enabled him to give MCC a wonderful presentation. Preliminary research put him in touch with the President of the Bangladesh Photographic Society (BPS) who organised members of the society to show him around Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is not geared up for tourism so the hospitality, generosity and help from the BPS enabled him to visit some very interesting places and experiences. These included the Port of Dhaka with the manual unloading of coal and other freight from ships by both men and women in baskets on their heads, the smoky and hot environment of foundries, the Cox Bazaar with its fishermen, chillies and rice drying methods, brick making and the dangerous stone quarries.
Happenstance found him attending the Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest annual Muslim pilgrimage after The Hajj where he was able to document the mass of humanity attending this event and their modes of transport, be it by bus, boat or train. Train travel in Bangladesh is not for the faint hearted as his images showed with people clambering onto the roofs and leaping from train to train.
His thought provoking images were stunning. By using different perspectives and concentrating on various themes or subjects he was able to document the life of Bangladeshi workers. At times he chose to photograph what he called the invisible, other times he concentrated on women at work, or silhouettes or shadows of workers, networking from below fishing nets or scenes from above and children at play. He often described scenes as heartbreaking as the working conditions of the Bangladeshi invoked scenes from 100 to 150 years ago. ‘It was like journeying back in time’.
Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable well prepared presentation with truly artistic and well constructed storytelling images.
Here is a link to the video library for MCC members.
By Marg Huxtable