We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sayeeda Khanam. She was Bangladesh’s first female professional photographer.
Khanam began her career in 1956 as a photojournalist in Begum, at the only newspaper dedicated to women at that time. Her photographs were published in many national and international newspapers including the Observer, Morning News, and Ittefaq. She also captured many important events of the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Khanam worked as a photographer with renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray in three of his films. She had her first international exhibition in 1956, after participating at the International Photo and Cinema Exhibition, Cologne. Her works were featured at an international photography exhibition in Dhaka and later at international competitions in Japan, France, Sweden, Pakistan, and Cyprus.
In 1960, Khanam received an award at the All Pakistan Photo Contest. She was also honoured with the Unesco Award for Photography in 1985. She received the Ekushey Padak in 2019.
She was a lifetime member of the Bangladesh Mahila Samity and Bangla Academy.
Khanam passed away at the age of 83 on Tuesday, 18 August 2020.