Abir Abdullah is currently the photo editor of the largest Bangla newspaper Prothom Alo in Dhaka, Bangladesh. An independent photographer and tutor, Abir was born 1971 in Bagerhat in southern Bangladesh. He holds a Masters in Marketing (M. Com) from Dhaka University. Making a significant career change to become a photographer, he studied at the Bangladesh Photographic Institute in 1993 and then at Pathshala Media Institute, gaining a diploma in photojournalism in 1999. Following this the World Press Photo Foundation – Netherlands supported him on a three-year seminar (Pleasure of Life).
He worked as a staff photographer at European Pressphoto Agency (2005-2017), Drik PLC (1996 to 2005); was a Founding partner of DrikNews (2006); Principal of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute (2018-2020) and was a Jury Member of the World Press Photo in 2011. Abir’s numerous awards includes the Mother Jones Award 2001 for his work on Freedom Fighters (Veterans of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971) and the 1st Prize National Disaster category NPPA best of photojournalism award 2008. His work continues to gain recognition and he was the Alexia Foundation Professional grants winner 2013 and the recipient of the Leica Reportage prize in the Vevey International Photography Awards in Switzerland 2013.
Abir’s work has been published in New York Times, New Yorker, Time, Guardian, The Telegraph, Stern, Der Spiegel, the New Internationalist Magazine and many other international publications. He was one of the photographers featured in the book BLINK, published by Phaidon, featuring 100 photographers worldwide and in the book titled New Stories commissioned and published by World Press Photo.
A fireman attempts to extinguish a fire at Kung Keng textile factory. Unsafe working conditions have led to repeated accidents. Export Processing Zone, Dhaka. 26 August 2005. (EPA/Abir Abdullah)
Body of a female garment worker trapped under the debris of the collapsed building at Savar, Bangladesh. 1133 workers died and thousands were critically injured. 25 April 2013. The deadliest disaster in the history of the industry occurred on 24 April 2013, when Rana Plaza, a complex with five garment factories collapsed. Reported death tool was 1133 workers and over 600 more workers were disabled. For these victims life is a painful struggle. The headlines are soon forgotten in the West, while the victims pay a huge price for producing cheap, fashionable clothes. (EPA/Abir Abdullah)
Bangladeshi youth protest against the deaths of the garments workers in the Ashulia fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 16 December 2012. Reports state that more than 100 people were killed after a devastating fire took place at Tazreen Fashions Limited garments factory at Nischintapur, in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, late on 24 November 2012. (Abir Abdullah/EPA)