10 reasons why Bangladesh is the best country in the world to improve your people photography skills
After my second visit to Bangladesh, I love it even more than before! I recently ran my first photography tour there and, watching the participants enjoy themselves so much and dramatically develop their people photography skills at the same time, I realized that Bangladesh might just be THE best country on Earth to do that.
1- One of the highest population densities in the world
With over 160 million people in a country a little more than the size of Greece, Bangladesh has the 8th highest population density in the world. And that means there are lots of people everywhere! Walking the streets of Dhaka is a very intense and interesting experience with great photo opportunities around every corner. Even in the countryside it is very easy to find activity in the fields at any time of day!
2- Extremely friendly people
As the people of Bangladesh are Muslim it is a very welcoming country. Following Muslim tradition, travelers in Bangladesh are sincerely treated as guests. People are constantly inviting you for tea or food, and are very curious to learn more about you and how you feel about their country. It is very easy to photograph people in the streets (mostly men) and have a chat to get some back story.
3- Selfie! Selfie! People constantly asking to have their photo taken
Like India, people in Bangladesh love having their photo taken. When walking the streets we were often asked by people just to take a “selfie” (I know it is the wrong usage for the word but this is how it is). This means you will be able to photograph any person you meet on the streets. Saying hello, giving them the typical head movement, and getting that same head movement back basically means: “come take my picture”. How is that not a people photographer’s dream?
4- The constant activity in the streets
Due to the fact that there are a lot of people around, and that people live on the street, walking in cities opens up countless photographic opportunities. With all the street food stalls, tea shops, people selling betel nut and street workers, a whole life vibrantly emerges right in front of you. Add to this the crazy traffic, half broken buses, rickshaws and CNGs (the local tuk tuks) and there is a lot of material to work with.
5- The colors of the walls and people’s clothes
Similar to India the people’s clothes are very colorful, especially the women. In addition, Bengali people love having very colorful houses, meaning great backgrounds!
6- Easy to access locations where people work
Surprisingly in Bangladesh it is very easy to access any location, and let me tell you there are plenty of great photo opportunities in many of them! Any house, smoky warehouse, brick factory, leather tannery, etc … is open to friendly tourists willing to have a look and take some photos. I am not sure this will last but for the moment the things you can see when walking the narrow streets of Dhaka or Chittagong are just incredible.
7- Diversity of people with ethnic tribes in the East, Hindus and Muslims
As well as a diversity of landscapes, in Bangladesh the people come from many traditions. Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are common as well as Muslims. In Dhaka, one neighborhood can be radically different from the next, even from one street to the next stunning changes occur as you move from Muslim to Hindu dwellings (for example). Moving amongst the ethnic tribes in the East of the country, in Bandarban area, reminds me of walking in the local markets around Inle Lake in Myanmar.
8- The huge markets
I have taken some of my favorite photos of Bangladesh when exploring a market: from the fish market of Chittagong to the vegetable markets of Dhaka or Bogra, these are hives of people, color and activity.
9- A wide variety of things to photograph
Bangladesh isn’t a very big country but it offers a variety of backgrounds for people photography: from a busy factory to narrow streets filled with traffic jams or open green fields in the countryside. Bangladesh is also one of the last places where one can see and photograph the mighty Bengal tiger.
10- There is very little tourism in Bangladesh
Unlike India, which sees a lot of tourism, the lack of it in Bangladesh makes people very curious about visitors. Everyone is very keen to come and have a chat, and that makes the traveler feel very safe all over the country. Incredibly, that also means no one is trying to sell you things in the streets!