Munem Wasif only works in his home country Bangladesh, because, he explains to BJP, photojournalists just don’t need to travel thousands of miles to find compelling stories to tell.
Two years ago, he was largely unknown, but after winning a F25 grant, the City of Perpignan’s Young Reporter’s Award and a Prix Pictet commission, Munem Wasif has now become one of the most-promising young photographers around. This year, and for the second time in three years, his work is on show at Visa Pour l’Image, the world’s largest photojournalism festival.
The problem, says Wasif, resides in the fact that too many people are close-minded about Islam. “It’s so one-way,” he tells BJP’s news editor Olivier Laurent. “It’s all about the veil, bombs, Afghanistan, Iraq. It’s about a particular side of Islam. In the media, you only see either extreme fundamentalists or western-influenced Muslim upper class people. There’s no middle. It’s black-and-white, and there are no shades of grey.” And, says Wasif, he wanted to change that perception.