I thought long and hard whether to post this photo on the front page. It’s not the average welcoming screen on the Web. Thing is, am currently on assignment in Bangladesh. Maybe I’ll post a few images later on. But what’s there to post when one sees a photo like the one by Bangladeshi activist and photographer Taslima Akhter who shot the image shown below in the first night after the Rana Plaza tragedy on April 24, 2013. At least 1,127 people died. Well that image was picked up by TIME. The magazine spread it over two pages and dedicated an own story called A Final Embrace to this heart wrenching photograph.
Just spent a very interesting evening with Taslima — who’s shooting a Canon 5D Mark II, in this case with the powerful and compact Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM. Nah, she never uses a 50mm, says Taslima. Too long. Maybe 28mm. But the 35’s just perfect for this kind of work and environment. But it turned out to be much more than just work.
Right, we’re not talking gear here. Read Taslima’s moving account on TIME about this most haunting photograph from Bangladesh. It may bring tears to your eyes. Or one is just left not knowing what to think.
The photo is unedited, uncropped, unaltered in any way. And let me add these few additional details Taslima told me:
It was after midnight and dark. All people had was flashlights. She climbed up to the 3rd or 4th floor of the collapsed building. She had seen so many bodies already that day at the morgue, but “I thought I had to see it closer to feel the pain.” It wasn’t easy to stand straight on top of the ruins. Everything seemed unstable.
She had to use a flash and could only spend two minutes with the dead couple. But still today, when looking at the image, “I feel very close to them,” says Taslima.
Over the next hours and days she tried to help as much as she could in rescuing the buried and trapped. “Some pleaded to amputate their limbs to get them free. It was hard. I put the camera away and helped. After this, I couldn’t talk to anyone for two days.”