Doctoral Candidate and Photographer Straddles Two Worlds: High-Tech Career, Low-Tech Legacy

Return to Issue of Aug. 3, 2009

Bangladesh is in many ways worlds away from Kent State.

Moinul Zaber, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Kent State, tries to show his home country of Bangladesh in a positive light through the lens of his camera.

Zaber, from Dakah, Bangladesh, is a professional photographer and does freelance work for organizations, but also works on projects of his own.

Zaber says Bangladesh is known for its miseries. Most of the outsiders view it as a land of calamities and many of the people there see it as a land of distress. Zaber, however, was unable to find the sadness that others see in Bangladesh. He wants to use his camera to portray the people of Bangladesh in their true light, not as unhappy, but as joyful in their day-to-day work.

“My pictures are not for any particular place, but I am doing an anthology of work,” Zaber says. “I work on photographing children and I also do work with ethnic people so some of my photos are based on those things.”

Zaber works with boatmen and people living nestled against the Bay of Bengal. He took pictures of people doing their day-to-day jobs and interacting with each another.

“I stayed with the boatmen and took pictures of them fishing and how they live,” Zaber says. “They have a bazaar (market) nearby where they go and have fun, and I captured those pictures as well.”

Zaber presented an exhibition of his photos in Bangladesh by the harbor where the fishing boats were docked.

“My exhibition was an open-air one, not in a store,” Zaber says. “I did it purposely because I wanted to show the boatmen their own pictures which I couldn’t have done if I had the exhibition in a gallery in town.”

Zaber says he would like to do another exhibition in Kent so that people would come to know the different people of Bangladesh: the fisherman, boatmen, vegetable sellers, flower women and the children.

“My camera failed all the time to find the miseries that others could find, maybe because I tried to catch the people as they were, living and enjoying their lives,” Zaber says. “In all their perceived pains I found these people with bright smiles; and to me, they are among the happiest people of the world I have managed to travel.”

Watch this week's multimedia feature showcasing Zaber's photos in a photo essay about life in a fishing village in Bangladesh.

More information about Zaber and his pictures can be found online.

By Mary Jo Spletzer

Return to Issue of Aug. 3, 2009

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