While we met once, and only very briefly, in Dhaka several years ago, I saw in G.M.B. Akash’s work the kind of depth and breadth that I wished more photographers in the region could emulate. And now, he is clearly on a winning streak.
Just because you haven’t seen it does not mean it doesn’t exist. There is a plethora of talent in South Asia, waiting to be discovered. What makes Akash shine is of course his vision, his use of color, his sense of timing and light. All those things one would expect from a photographer. But those skills alone will limit your beautiful images to be stored away in shoe boxes or hard drives, never to be seen or appreciated by anyone.
What differentiates Akash is his pluckiness in putting his work and his name out there in front of people who matter most in this business: photo editors. Every month or so for the past year, I have received emails from Akash saying that he has either won or has been considered a finalist in one photo contest or another. For serious artists of the medium it is easy to tell yourself that you create art for yourself and contests don’t mean a whole lot. That’s fine, if you want to starve. But if you want to survive and continue creating work that is useful to society, you do now have to, well, promote yourself. And, Akash is very good at that. Entering and winning contests means putting his images and his name out into the real working world where editors and photo buyers are perusing, and perhaps persuing, new talent.
Here is a typical note from Akash. It’s simple and to the point.
Dear Friends and colleagues,
You will be happy to know that i have won First Place, Color in Photographer’s Forum Magazine’s 26Th annual photo contest. USA.
This year 20,000 images were submitted from all around the world. As a award i will receive 1000 USD and a canon Digital SLR camera.
Due to Bangladesh’s large population, inadequate seats on the trains and poverty, it is quite common to see a thick layer of people occupying the roof of a train. Frequent accidents, which occur when a free rider slips, are not enough to deter these stowaways of the railway.
If you are a finalist or won a contest send me a note. And if it has helped you garner more assignments, definitely let me know the name of the publication. Email me the contest’s name, your winning image(s) and a link to your website.