Bangladesh Photographic Workshop
September 06 - September 19, 2011

The workshop will only accommodate 7 participants



About the Workshop

Between 1972 and 2011 I have worked and lived in Bangladesh for more than 16 years. Needless to say it is a country I know well and that I have seen evolve over several decades. My field assignments allowed me to discover many hidden corners. For me the two main assets of Bangladesh are its vibrant people and its rural sceneries.

Following the successful photographic workshop I co-organized with Michel Reichmann in January 2005 and the other I led in November 2008 I am now offering another opportunity during the 2011 monsoon. My 30-year old friend and colleague Jagadindra Majumder (Bappi) will join us on the trip.

In the West Bangladesh is still often misperceived as a ‘basket case’ and a hopeless country. A close look at the last decades’ socio-economic indicators demonstrates it is not the case. Bangladesh is a country of dignity, resilience and is vibrant with socio-economic progress, innovations and blossoming art, music, literature, painting, movies and photography ( http://www.chobimela.org ). The names of Dr Yunus of the Grameen Bank, of Amyrta Sen and of Rabindranath Tagore, (this year Bangladesh & India jointly celebrating his 150th birthday) all Nobel laureates, are known examples of Bengali intellectual leadership.  Bangladesh is a country where the lives of  its people are shaped by the rivers, the monsoon rains and sometimes by cyclones.

The Photographic Opportunity has been organized to provide unique opportunities to visit and document many different aspects of the country. We shall see the mangrove forests and wildlife of the Sunderbans (a UNESCO heritage), the busy life on the rivers, an old Hindu temple inside the deep forest of Sunderbans, the Buddhist vestiges of Mainamati, the tribal life in Sreemongol and  in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the  tea gardens, and the urban chaos of Dhaka and Chittagong. The occasional monsoon rains will provide a unique lightning and effects (see McCurry’s “Monsoon”).

You can find my photographic biography in the Introduction of my web site www.ventsdest.net  I am a medical epidemiologist and a public health doctor who spent his professional life in Africa and South, South East and Central Asia. I have had several photo exhibitions : "Borrowed faces" (Dhaka- October 2000; Chittagong Feb 2001); "The Eastern Gallery of the Berlin Wall" (Dhaka April 2001); "1972-2002: The changing faces of Shariakandi" (Dhaka and Shariakandi - April 2002); "Surviving Dreams: the struggling circus of Bangladesh" (Dhaka Chobi Mela II - November 2002). My book of 120 black and white photographs on the circuses of Bangladesh and its accompanying text was released in October 2003.

Jagadindra Majumder is a survey specialist born in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. He has an extensive knowledge of all corners of the country and of its cultural aspects. He was part of the 2005 and 2008 photographic workshops.

This workshop is open 7 external participants

Who is the workshop for?

The Photographic Opportunity is for passionate photographers. Proficiency in photography techniques is assumed as well as quality equipment (telephotos). We shall get up early to catch the first light and will seize every opportunity to have “keepers”. Thousands of shots will be taken by each of us because the opportunities will be constant. The Photographic Opportunity is not a Workshop with courses and assignments but you will get from Bappi and I any technical assistance and review you may need.

Even if the workshop is centered on photography it should not deter your significant other to join (with a pair of binoculars, a hat and a smile). There will be many daily exciting occasions to watch and learn about the people and the country.


Long lenses (at least 70-200 range but up to 300 mm ) are a must. They should be preferably with vibration-reduction because we shall be often on boats (engines) and also because of the pictures of birds, otters and wildlife. A monopod will be handy to bring if you have one A wide angle fixed lens or zoom (24mm) will be useful for building, markets, etc . Bring cameras and lenses water protection (not underwater boxes) because of the monsoon rains. Remember that Bangladesh is one of the most crowded places in the world and that people will surround you often (in a friendly way). Dust should not be a problem but take with you a sensor-cleaning kit, in case. 

Two camera bodies are safer in case one dies on the spot (it has happened each time). .

Binoculars are a must to enjoy the sceneries and identify from far away what looks like a canal-crossing tiger….

On the boat there will be electricity available several times a day for you to unload your shots, charge the batteries, run your computer, etc. Electrical outlets have the French plugs (not UK or USA).
Last but not least bring a poncho-type raincoat with opening for the arms and a hat for these pictures under the rain. A small towel around the neck may help (I wear this in Brittany).

Michael Reichmann wrote a useful report on " what worked and what did not" upon his return from the January 2005 workshop  http://www.luminous-landscape.com Even if you do not shoot Canon cameras you will find it useful.

The Cost

When you have decided to join please do register.

The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $4,900 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Dhaka, Bangladesh). The same rate applies for each participant whether they are doing photography or not. This fee includes all in-country ground, river and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation for 13 nights (Single occupancy whenever available) and all meals and alcoholic beverages.

A deposit of U.S. $2,500 (per person) will be required when you register, and the balance of $2,400 will be due no later than August 1, 2011. If you need to cancel before August 1, you’ll get a full refund (less $500). After August 1 if you need to cancel you’ll receive all of your money back except $500, but the refund will be possible only if a replacement for you can be found.

If we have to cancel the trip for any reason you will receive a full refund.


  • All airport / train station transfer
  • All road journey by reserved tourist coach
  • Domestic air tickets (Jessore - Dhaka)
  • Train journey from Sreemongol to Chittagong
  • Boat journey on the Rocket (Chandpur-Khulna)
  • All a/c accommodation  (except Sundarbans)
  • Cruiser for Sundarbans forest (exclusive)
  • Non-ac accommodation on boat inside the forest
  • Forest fees and revenue for Sundarbans forest
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • Dinners at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel 
  • Mineral water for drinking
  • All sightseeing and activities as per itinerary
  • Necessary permit and fees as per Itinerary 


  • Soft drinks                                                                                
  • International air-ticket
  • International Airport tax
  • Items of personal nature
  • Item(s) not included in the above inclusion list.
  • Tipping

Liability Limitation

Pierre Claquin and J  Majumder , aim to provide every participant a safe, educational, and enjoyable experience. We act solely as agents for you regarding accommodations, special activities, and travel, by any means, and assume no liability for any act, error, omission, injury, loss, delay, mishap, or damage to persons or property arising from any cause during the course of the workshop or in transit thereto. We can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in the services to be provided. We reserve the right to change our arrangements should conditions necessitate, or to cancel any aspect of the workshop due to exceptional circumstances. In the event that we deem it necessary to cancel the workshop we will provide a full refund, which the participant acknowledges as full and final settlement.

As there is always an element of risk in any adventure associated with the outdoors, participants must read this form carefully. This liability release will certify that the participant is physically fit and capable of participating in outdoor photography exercises in field locations, and is fully and completely aware of any associated risks created by field locations and weather.
By joining this workshop I acknowledge that I have read the above information concerning responsibility and release Pierre Claquin & J Majumder, their guides, instructors and any cooperating agent from any liability. Pierre Claquin  & J Majumder will assume no liability for injury, illness, or loss of personal property or expenses thereof associated with workshop participation.

Bangladesh tour 14 days


06 Sep’ 11 (TUE): Upon arrival meet our representative at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at Dhaka and transfer to Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel for check-in. Rest. Late afternoon sightseeing of the busy Old Dhaka Sadarghat waterfront and of the sunset. Dinner at hotel.

07 Sep’ 11 (WED): Soon after breakfast, departure toSrimongol by road. Check in at Guest house. After lunch visit of a tea garden and the plucking of tea leaves; visit a tribal Manipuri village. In the evening attend a Manipuri cultural program.

08 Sep’ 11 (THU): After breakfast visit the Lawachara wildlife forest and his gibbons. After lunch visit a private zoo where you will see some rare animal and birds.  In the late evening take train to Chittagong. Photo documentation on the train.

09 Sep’ 11 (FRI): After arrival in Chittagong early morning, breakfast at Meridian restaurant; departure in our bus for the hill district of Bandarban in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Arrival for lunch at the Milonchari resort with its scenic view and ethnic bungalows. After lunch in the afternoon undertake a mid-level hill trek to Chimbuk. In the evening dinner with CHT development agencies staff for presentations and open discussions.

10 Sep’ 11 (SAT): After breakfast departure for Rangamati (through internal road via Chandragona- Kaptai road). Speedboat trip to Shuvolong Lunch at Pada Ting Ting (An extensive restaurant on the Kaptai Lake) and return to Chittagong. Night halt & diner at Hotel Agrabad.

11 Sep’ 11 (SUN): After breakfast departure Chittagong by reserved A/C Couch. Lunch on the way at the Bangladesh Rural Academy in Comilla. Visit of the Mainamati Buddhist ancient sites. Late in the evening boarding the Rocket, a paddle-wheeled boat like on the Mississippi of old times at Chandpur. Night halt in your private cabins photo documentation on the boat.

12 Sep’ 11 (Mon): A full day on the river, on the way to Morrelgonj or Mongla.
Observation of the busy life on the banks of the river and on the boats. Upon arrival at any of the above places, you will disembark the rocket steamer and board our personal specialized cruising boat and overnight near the Sundarban Forest.

13 - 16 Sep’ 11 (TUE, WED, THU & FRI): Early departure for the Sunderbans, the reserved mangrove forest of the delta where about 250 tigers might still roams free. For four days we shall visit an old Hindu temple hidden in the jungle, observe fishermen in Dublar char, observe wildlife (fauna and flora) and capture the scenic beauty of this unique environment. The boat is comfortable and will allow recreation like swimming. On the 16th evening, return to Khulna where we should arrive in the morning of the 17th.

17 Sep’ 11 (SAT): In Khulna meeting with Australian painter-in-residence of Malcolm. On the way we will visit Keshobpur to see the rare type of Black mouth Monkey. Transfer to Jessore airport for the evening Dhaka flight. Night halt at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

18 Sep’ 11 (SUN): Move around Dhaka and shopping to fill the bags

19 Sep’ 11 (MON): Transfer to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to fly to next destination.