Category Archives: Media Classes

“Love in the First Person”

Photo: Matt Eich

As part of the final exam today my students wrote an essay about their favorite multimedia project of the semester. I showed a variety of work including some of the classics like “Becoming Human” and several of the Magnum in Motion projects.

In the beginning of the semester we saw “Love in the First Person” (by Matt and Mellisa Eich produced by Media Storm) that turned out to the clear favorite. The class was moved by the raw honesty of the piece and really identified with Matt and Mellisa who are about the same age as most of the students. This comment from Monica sums it up: “From my point of view the word love is a gift of God but depends on the kind of person you are in love with. Love is all about caring and having faith and this exactly what I saw in Matt and Melissa’s relationship. They were young but mature enough to make the most important decision of their life.” Life is beautiful but as Matt stated “nothing good comes without struggling.”

Interesting comment especially in terms of the differences between East-West, and Muslim-Christian cultures. After all, for many in Bangladesh arranged marriages are the norm. It’s clear, we need more work like this that skillfully portrays our real- life stories.

IUB Photography Workshop

Photo © Mohammad Zakir Hossain

I just wrapped up a four day Photography workshop at IUB and wasn’t so sure that it was going to come together until the last minute. On the last day as I was showing the students how to construct a multimedia presentation we had power cuts- they call it load shedding here- almost every other hour on the hour. For some reason the IPS back up power supply didn’t work either. Some guy, or maybe a woman, decides which neighborhood get turned off.  IUB is located in  Baridhara, the wealthiest part of the country. Lack of electricity and water are much more severe in other parts of the city.

Photo © Asif Khan

Bangladeshis are extremely resourceful and pull together when they have to. When the power finally returned, we made a final edit, sequenced the photos and made a couple of title images. With only a few minutes left we changed locations and presented our work to an enthusiastic audience. I better post this now before the power goes out again.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Rickshaw art, Dinajpur, North Bengal

Yesterday I introduced my students to twitter. It hasn’t taken off yet here in Bangladesh. Most were skeptical but today I noticed quite a few of them “following” me:) Thanks to Mindy McAdams for the reminder.

Speaking of photography, I posted forty full screen images from Bangladesh on  www.hillerphoto. com.

IUB students write about Feburary 25th

Army tanks roll into Dharmondi, Photo © Salman Saeed

As part of their midterm assignments I had my students write a post about what happpened on Feburary 25, 2009. These essays are a powerful testimony to the “decade zero” generation of Bangladesh- those coming of age in the early part of the twenty- first century. They are eloquently written, in the student’s second language no less. I’m proud of you. Take a look here, here, here and here.

Winter into Spring

Painted trucks, Comilla

During the past few months the mornings have been chilly- especially for the rickshaw drivers who only wear thin shirts, loungyi’s (sarongs) and flip-flops. Street vendors have been selling  the specialty of the season called Bhapa Pitha. It’s a steam-baked  cake filled with coconut and molasses shaped in a small cup and placed on a steamer pot.

Bangladesh has six seasons and this February 13th marks Falgun, the coming of spring. Woman in Dhaka wear yellow saris to celebrate this day. I’ll be missing it since I fly back home to the states this Wednesday for a two week vacation returning to classes on March second.

Note to my students: don’t forget that I’ll be that I’ll be checking email and watching the progress of your blogs. Keep posting at least twice a week (or more if you like).

Mid-Term Week

Samah’s “Dream Wedding” Blog

In less then two months my students have made terrific progress with their blogs especially considering that many of them didn’t know what blogging was about when we began. Samah got a late start but has turned into quite a marketing maven. I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets hired out as a wedding planner very soon.  For mid- terms the students gave an oral presentation and critique of  their blogs and sites that they frequently visit (Face Book seems to be a favorite). Check out some of their work linked in the right navigation. Class favorites include:

Samah’s “Dream Wedding”
Aneeta’s “Style Notes”
Salmans “Bangladeshi Photographer”
Safeena’s “Urban Woman of Dhaka”


The Book Market in Dhaka

I had read on Rezwan’s blog that one in every five Bangladeshi’s with internet access has a facebook account so I decided to poll my students on the first day of class. It turns out that eighty percent of them do. I started using facebook to “communicate” with some of the photographers on Verve Photo which goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’m not sure if I totally get it but that’s another story.

Five minutes before class the power went out in the computer lab – something that’s not uncommon called “load shedding”. Fortunately it returned a few minutes later in time to give my students an introduction to blogging. The above photo was shot in the new market, part of which is filled with hundreds of book stalls. You can find practically anything pirated and even place special requests that will be photocopied and bound in a few days time.