By Shea Parton
Photos by Atish Saha
While waiting in the Seoul airport on a layover during my flight back home to the US of A, I couldn't help but laugh when remembering all the smart calls our Bangladeshi cinematographer, Atish Saha (nickname: Ayon), made over the last 10 days. Whether he was patiently translating my ideas, negotiating my surfboard rental, reminding me to grease up with mosquito repellant, or advising me to take into account the heavy Dhaka traffic so I wouldn't miss my flight home—Atish was a lifesaver. More than, Atish is an award-winning Bangladeshi photojournalist whose work has been featured by Time, The Washington Post, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The image he's most known for is this New Yorker image, which cost him a rubber bullet to the foot.
It was such a pleasure to have Atish with us on our trip, capturing beautiful photos and endless hours of video, while also giving us tips and insights as only a local can. Atish has been running around with a Canon 5D Mark III, three lenses, an external audio recorder, an iPhone 7S, two hard drives, four compact flash cards, and enough batteries to power a small country. Atish's camera bag has logged some rugged miles—from riding the back of a rickshaw to capture Ghayasuddin on his bike, to plowing through muddy ponds to capture local farmers processing the jute fiber our market bags are made of, to trading takas for roof access to get a bird's-eye view of Rana Plaza.
As we've been shooting footage for the upcoming Apolis short film highlighting our Bangladesh market bag partnership, Atish has tackled this creative challenge head on. With his knowledge of the local dialect (unlike yours truly, who has probably mangled every Bengali word I've ever said), Atish asked all the right questions—so the resulting footage is both visually stunning and viscerally honest. We're looking forward to previewing the Bangaldesh film in the coming weeks, and are planning an exciting release event once the film is finished. On behalf of the Apolis team and Saidpur Enterprises, we are so thankful for Atish's commitment to creating the best possible content over the last ten days.
I also want to thank you—yes, you—for following along on this journal as we've documented the people, stories, and images behind the market bag. Featured below are a few of Atish's most iconic images from his years of photojournalism, the majority of which were taken days after the Rana Plaza disaster. As we shared on Day Two, our hope is to represent a very different story than that of Rana Plaza; we hope to depict the story of how customers like you are directly benefitting mothers in Bangladesh as they manufacture beautiful products which also positively impact local communities.
Lastly, special thanks to copywriter Pip Craighead for editing each of these daily journals—without him, my late-night zombie write-ups would have been a laughably random string of thoughts, instead of sharing this story of how business is being used as a force for good in Saidpur, Bangladesh. And now, after a 40-hour trip home (from Dhaka to China to Korea to Seattle to Oregon), I am so excited to go hug my wife and kids after three weeks away. Bidaya ("goodbye" in Bengali) for now!