Approach and goals:
“After Rana Plaza” is the successor of the documentary project “The Cost of Fashion." This project came from a very personal place, as I live among those affected by the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh's garment industry. Seeing the workers every day, coming and going, is a constant reminder of the collapse and its effects still linger more than two years later.
Rana Plaza was the world’s largest industrial tragedy and the human rights abuses suffered as a consequence should not be forgotten. At present, many of the international clothing companies responsible have yet to compensate victims who not only suffered the loss of loved ones, but also the ability to work due to injuries, namely the loss of limbs. For those physically capable of returning to work, many suffer from PTSD. In order to hold these businesses responsible, it is imperative that we, as a global society, continue to advocate the stories of the Rana Plaza victims to the forefront of an international visibility and awareness.
I don't want their stories to be forgotten. As I continued to photograph those affected by the collapse, I understood how important it was to not just take a picture, but to engage myself in this issue to best represent it. I want to explore how their lives have changed and what challenges they continue to face. The varying realities will be featured within the context of the post-Rana Plaza garment industry conditions.
Using Instagram as a publishing and sharing platform, the project, working in real time, will connect with audiences in a direct and thought-provoking way. Furthermore, in order to demonstrate the importance of taking action to prevent future disasters such as these, the project will additionally feature a range of individuals and groups who have played an integral role both during and after the Rana Plaza collapse. By including them along with the victims and their stories, the project will show both the positive steps that are being taken to combat irresponsible and dangerous industrial practices as well as the importance of these reforms.
I think this is the right time in photojournalism to build awareness through social networks, such as Instagram, because it reaches audiences in high volumes and brings issues into people’s back pocket.
My goal is to share the stories from Rana Plaza directly with the global community, through Instagram and other social platforms, including the site www.afterranaplaza.com. I will focus on combining still imagery with the voices of the victims and those effected by the tragedy, to literally bring their voices to life through the use of Instagram.
I will share more than 100 stories, including Rana Plaza survivors, local and global garment factory workers and other important players such labor organizations, fashion designers and members of the international support community. Supported and enhanced with facts, interviews and geo-tagging, the project will focus on one individual every two to five days, for more than 300 days.
Follow Ismail on Instagram @afterranaplaza
About the recipient:
Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1989, Ismail Ferdous has always been fascinated by the stories of people living in underrepresented communities. As a documentary photographer, Ismail covers social and humanitarian issues. His most recent project "The Cost of Fashion" is a photo and video advocacy project that began after he documented the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which led to his follow-up project two years later "After Rana Plaza." The project continues to spread awareness about the fashion industry and its negative effects on workers in Bangladesh.
Since 2011, Ismail has also documented the effects of global warming and HIV/AIDS on local communities. Additionally, he has documented violence against women in Guatemala, refugees along the border of Turkey and Syria, human trafficking in South-East Asia and, most recently, the earthquake in Nepal.
Ismail has worked for many NGOs, agencies and news organizations including MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Showtime, the World Bank, SIDA-Global Reporting and Ocean Conservancy. He has won numerous awards including NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism award (2014 and 2015), Days Japan Photojournalism Award, Alexia Foundation Award of Excellence in 2012, Dart Foundation Asia Pacific Fellowship, Eddie Adams Workshop and World Bank Young Artist.
Ismail’s work is exhibited in the 25CPW Gallery New York, the World Bank head office, the Powerhouse Museum and Rio de Janeiro-UNICEF. His work has appeared in The New York Times Op-Docs, New Yorker Magazine, National Geographic Germany, Global Reporting Sweden, OmVärlden magazine, The Washington Post, TIME LightBox, The New York Times Lens blog, Wall Street Journal, InterAction Magazine and MIPJ journal.