Sharwar Hussain

2021 New Discovery of the Year

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background!

Professionally I am a textile engineer. Photography is my passion. I started taking interest in photography back in 2014. Since then, I have traveled almost all over Bangladesh and abroad to take pictures of different events, people and cultures. Documentary Photography is my strong suit. That’s why I like to think of myself as an artist and a storyteller when it comes to describing my role as a photographer. I fill my frames with stories that everyone ignores but needs to be told. They are of the voiceless, the helpless and the forsaken.

Q: How did you realize that you enjoy photography and capturing pictures?

Honestly, I felt this realization when I started my long term documentary projects on climate change. Reason behind is I know specifically what I am doing, and I feel that I am trying to do something for a better future environment where we and our next generation have to live peacefully.

Q: Do you ever have trouble getting inspired? What do you do when moments like this arise?

Yes it happened several times when I saw somebody criticize my project and not giving me advice and suggestions on how to improve my skill. I discussed with my mentor how to overcome those issues. I took a break with a long relaxing tour and kept my distance from social media for that time period.

Q: Which aspect of photography would you say was the hardest thing that you had to learn or get used to?

To be able to represent myself as a part of the community of those people that are climate victims and survive everyday with new challenges. This is the hardest thing that I get used to during every tour. Most cases I don’t start taking photographs until they expect me to take photographs.

Q: You have been chosen New Discovery Photographer of the Year 2021 and Editorial Photographer of the Year for your work “Tears of river erosion,” a photo that captures one aspect of the severe effects of climate change. How did you come up with this project?

This was one of the greatest emotional and motivational moments of my photography life and it was my first entry in the IPA competition.This was a single photo from my long term documentary project on climate change under the title “Climate migrants.“ From a non-professional photographer point of view, it is not too easy for people to explore/reach my work and knowledge. It is important to be able to send a message to the audience broadly and to the world leaders just like a professional photographer would do, about the effects of global warming and climate change in 2nd and 3rd world countries which contribute the least to the increase of global warming, but are most affected. I believe winning the “New Discovery of the Year” will help me to reach out widely around the world and to raise awareness about reducing rising global temperature which is correlated with climate change.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when shooting this image and what impact has this project had on you personally?

It was too hard to make the victims I was documenting understand and believe that I am documenting this situation to try to make it better for them, to send a message to local and national authorities to make a sustainable dam to protect the whole area from erosion.

Q: Why did you decide on entering this particular photo into the IPA?

Reviewing past years’ ” IPA Winners Gallery” gives me the impression that it’s a highly prestigious platform for both professional and amateur photographers, an Oscar’s of sorts. With it, I can present my work to the professional and nonprofessional in the photography industry and it will make connections and send message to the people and decision makers around the world about impact of climate issues and global warming.

Q: What does winning New Discovery of the Year mean to you?

This was one of the greatest emotional moments of my photography and personal life and it was my first entry in the IPA competition. I believe winning the ”New Discovery of the Year” award will help me to reach out with my work widely around the world.

Q: If you could do anything or go anywhere, what would your dream photography project be?

Honestly in my case, as I am working with climate change and global warming by capturing and documenting photos and photo stories which is a long term project, I have already engaged with 3 different projects named “Tears of water”, “Climate migrants” and “Tears of global warming”. Apart from these 3 projects my next dream project is ”Tears of carbon “

Q: What good advice would you give to a photographer who is just starting to experiment with photography?

Find a great mentor, invest in learning and review great photographers’ life stories and photos and practice. Share your work with critics not for listening or impressing. Please don’t focus on gear at the early stage and focus on learning. Be patient, polite and be a good human.

Q: What is next for you, are you working on anything right now?

Yes, right now I am working with a new project under the title “ Tears of water “ which is part of my long term documentary project on climate change.