Sir Manzoor Alam Beg’s legacy

Aalokchitracharjo’ Manzoor Alam Beg remains the most important figure in the history of photography in Bangladesh.


He devoted himself in promoting photography education and popularising photography as an art. To history, he is the the Father of Photography movements in Bangladesh, but to the photographers, he will always be remembered as Beg Shaheb or Beg Sir. Today marks the Commemoration Day of the master. Walking through the history of art, the field of photography had to fight a tough and controversial battle in terms of being considered an art form. Aself-made man, Beg was born in the village of Shampur in Nawabganj, Rajshahi joined the air force and began his training in photography after his matriculation examination. Through thick and thin, he not only practiced photography, but also took initiatives to enlighten young minds.

If photography today is deemed a profession of preference, Begart Institute of Photography would arguably be credited to hold the root. In 1960, he began Beg Art Institute of Photography; the first photography education center in Bangladesh. Aiming to drive people of varied ages towards a different route to carve out a new breed of artists, Begart began its voyage. Photographer and a graduate from Begart Institute of Photography Jahangir Alam in his book – “Aalokchitracharjo Manzoor Alam Beg o Somokalin Alokchitrer Biborton” writes, “Considering the time in history, it was an extremely rare professional choice he had made.” Throughout his life time, Beg experimented in the field of photography that continues in the hands of countless photographers in the country today.

Sir Manzoor Alam


He also initiated Bangladesh Photographic Society in 1990 along with renowned photographers Abdul Malek Babul, Golam Mustafa, Bijan Sarkar, Shahidul Alam, and Debabrata Chowdhury. The organisation played significant role to the training and development of photography in Bangladesh.Renowned educationist and popular science writer Abdullah Al-Muti Sharfuddin had once mentioned, “MA Beg was a lonely traveler on the way. People like him who fought for the industry should have been evaluated much earlier.” A photographer, researcher in photography, teacher, activist and the author of multiple publication on Photography, Manzoor Alam Beg was honoured as ESFIAP at the FIAP 19th Congress in Germany, 1987.


He was honored with a title Aalokchitracharjo (The Chancellor of Photography) by BPS on behalf of Bangladeshi photographer’s community. He received the most prestigious Ekushey Podak in 2007 besides 200 more national and international awards and honours. -the daily star

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