Prabuddha Paul: Boatmen of Buriganga
Prabuddha Paul captures the life and struggles of the boatmen living on the banks of the Buriganga river in Bangladesh.
This article was originally published in December 2010.
The Buriganga river is the lifeline of the city of Dhaka. It is also economically important as it connects to other parts of Bangladesh. In 1989 and in 2001 respectively, two bridges were built across the river, to be used by vehicles and pedestrians. A third bridge was inaugurated in 2009. While this new bridge solved problems for landowners and commuters, an entire community of boatmen were robbed of their livelihood.These boatmen, who live on the banks of Buriganga river, have been transporting goods and ferrying people across the river, for generations. They are now on the brink of poverty, with no education and no option of choosing another profession.
While local leaders pledged their help to the community at the inauguration, a year later, the boatmen find themselves helpless at the hands of bureaucracy and still waiting in misery. No provision has been made to uplift these tradesmen.Yet, their indomitable spirit helps them survive. And this spirit inspired me to explore their life and photograph them in their living spaces.
To Shoot a Strong Social Documentary
- Focus on portraits and people’s expressions as they accurately represent what people are going through.
- Find an objective behind what you are trying to do—if you start with an objective, it will help create a better impact through your images.
- While shooting, think of your frames from the perspective of the viewer. The objective is to create awareness of the problem.
Prabuddha Paul holds a Masters in Economics and has also completed a postgraduate course in Photography Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is currently working on a documentary project to highlight the benefits of organic farming.
Tags: December 2010, better photography, Prabuddha Paul, Buriganga, Bangladesh