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Sayeeda Khanam

Mar 08, 2019
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Sayeeda Khanam is the 1th female photographer of Bangladesh. She covered many significant events of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 through her photography. Her photographs have been published in a number of national newspapers and she enclosed many international and national seminars. She is a lifetime member of Bangladesh Mahila Samiti and Bangla Academy. Recently Ekushey Padak awarded to her as the first professional female photographer. She has worked with famous film director Satyajit Ray.

This respected woman was born on 29th December 1937 was born in Pabna District. She is the youngest between her four sisters and two brothers. Her attention in photography started at a very early age when her sister bought her a Rolleicord camera. She never received any institutional training on photography. But she learned from foreign photography magazines which were given to her by the owner of Jaidi’s studio, a studio of Dhaka.

Sayeeda Khanam finished her masters in Bengali literature and library science from the University of Dhaka. She began her career as a photographer in Begum in 1956. The only newspaper devoted to women at that time. She worked as a photographer with Satyajit Ray (filmmaker) in three films. She also did portraits of figures like Queen Elizabeth, Indira Gandhi, Buzz Aldrin, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She had her first international exhibition in 1956. In that year, her works were displayed in Dhaka and later Japan, France, Sweden, Pakistan and Cyprus.

Sayeeda Khanam worked as a librarian in the seminary library of Bengali Literature department of University of Dhaka from 1974 to 1986. She volunteered as a nurse in Holy Family Hospital for a while after the war. She received an award in all Pakistan Photo Contest in 1960.  And she was honoured with UNESCO Award for photography in 1985. She received many other awards from some national and international organizations.

Sayeeda Khanam is running the camera and wrote a number of books at the age of 82. If the time has come, then the cameras are hand-in-hand with friends or relatives.

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