Md Shahnewaz Khan’s Fallen Stars was honored this past Tuesday, Sept. 5, in the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest. The contest aims to promote young photographers aged 18 to 33 and support them in their pursuit of professional perfection. Khan was awarded a 3rd place prize in the Portrait. Hero of Our Time category and was also recognized with a Special Prize from Al Mayadeen TV.
Fallen Stars explores the issue of child labor in Bangladesh where, Khan tells us, child labor is a visible part of everyday life. Employers often prefer to employ children because they are cheaper and considered to be more compliant and obedient than adults. They are also exposed to situations that make them vulnerable to trafficking, abuse, violence and exploitation.
Further, “many child laborers miss out on an education because they do not have the time to go to school or to study. As a result, working children get stuck in low-paying, low-skilled jobs, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty,” explains Khan.
In seeing Khan’s images of young children in heavy industry or what appear to be slave-like conditions, we are moved to empathy and action. We are certain this work will help drive the conversation that will one day end this practice.
Fallen Stars was supported by a 2015 Alexia Award of Excellence Grant. We are proud to see this powerful photography and important issue getting the recognition and attention it deserves.