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Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1989, Ismail Ferdous has always been fascinated by people’s stories in unreachable communities. His family dreamt that he would be an accountant or a banker, following the family tradition. As a child, Ferdous would play with his father’s old Russian camera, memorizing the exposure settings. But, it wasn’t until his early twenties, when studying business at East West University, that he became serious about pursuing photography as a profession. He lived more than half of his life in Dhaka before traveling through various countries in Asia, Europe and North and South America. He learned photography by doing it.
As a documentary photographer, Ismail covers social humanitarian issues. His recent projects, The Cost of Fashion, is a photo and video advocacy project that began after documenting the Rana Plaza factory collapse, the worst industrial disaster in history. Then he continued working on same issue with After Rana Plaza project. The project continues to spread awareness about the fashion industry and its negative effects on workers in Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh he has also documented the effects of global warming and HIV/AIDS on local communities since 2011. He has also photographed violence against women in Guatemala, refugees along the border of Turkey and Syria; Myanmar and Bangladesh, human trafficking in Southeast Asia and many other issues. He has worked for many major Media Publications, NGOs, agencies and news organisations NYTimes Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, MSNBC Photo, AlJazeera America, BBC Media Action, UNDP, Associated Press, Showtime, the World Bank, Oxfam, SIDA-Global Reporting, the Ocean Conservancy etc.
Ismail’s work is exhibited in the Photoville 2015, 25CPW Gallery New York, the World Bank head office, the Powerhouse Museum and Rio de Janerio-UNICEF. His work has appeared in New York Times Magazine, New York Times Op-Docs, New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic- Germany, Global Reporting Sweden, OmVärlden magazine, Washington Post, Time Magazine Lightbox, New York Times Lens blog, Wall Street Journal, InterAction Magazine, MIPJ journal and many more.
Contributor to: NYTimes Magazine, National Geographic Channel, Le Monde, Stern Magazine, Washington Post, MSNBC Photo, BBC-Media Action, Al-Jazeera America, Redux Pictures, ABC Australia and GettyImages global etc.
Awards and Grants:
2016– Winner of THE MANUEL RIVERA-ORTIZ FOUNDATION FOR DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY
2016–Selected for 32nd American Photography Book 2016.
2015 – Getty Images-Instagram Grant winner 2015
2015 – International Photography Awards- Professional: Editorial, Environmental- Honourable Mention
2015 – Awarded 1st Prize, Professional General News category in the "Prix de la Photographie"
2015 – National Press Photographers Association - Best of Photojournalism Award 2015- Honourable Mention
2015 – 3rd Prize Days Japan International Photojournalism Award
2015 – Dart Foundation Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship
2015 – Fantadia Film Festival, Italy- Screened and Participant.
2014 – National Press Photographers Association- Best of Photojournalism Award 2014- 3rd Prize
2014 – Nominated and Selected as an attendee at LOOKbetween , USA.
2013 – Eddie Adams Photojournalism Workshop Scholarship, USA. One of the award winners participant.
2013 – Grand Prize in InterAction 13th photo contest 2013, USA.
2012 - Award of Excellence for the Alexia Foundation Grant 2012, USA.
2012 - Winner Artist of World Bank Imagining Our Future Together.
2012 - 1st Prize in ForeStClim photo contest 2012, Germany.
2012 – 1st Place, Gold Award in in the 2012 Commonwealth Photographic Awards, UK.
2012 - 2nd prize in People and Planet Award, Australia.
2012 - 2nd Prize in WHO-World AIDS Day 2011
2011 - 2012 Selected as Young photographer for The Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan