Artist: Katharina Mouratidi / Berlin Germany

For her series Back Seat Heroes, photographer Katharina Mouratidi portrayed 40 laureates of the Right Livelihood Award. Known throughout the world as the „Alternative Nobel Prize“ it honors people and organizations that have developed outstanding solutions to the most urgent problems of our times and who are fighting for their implementation. 145 persons and groups from 61 countries have so far been awarded the prize. Internationally, it is recognized as the preeminent distinction for courageous personal commitment and social change.

Back Seat Heroes intends to tell the fascinating stories of these people which have found – each of them in his or her very personal manner – possibilities to confront the compelling challenges of the present. The work is a continuation of Mouratidi´s intense examination of international social and political movements, which she is documenting for more than a decade now.

Katharina Mouratidi (*1971), is a freelance photographer based in Berlin. Her photographs are included in numerous collections and have been exhibited in many individual and group shows worldwide, among them: FotoFest Houston (USA), George Eastman House (USA), Lianzhou Photography Festival (China), Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn (Germany), Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Greece), Museo de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Primavera Fotográfica (Spain), Melkweg Gallery (The Netherlands). Since 2009 Katharina Mouratidi is teaching photography at several institutions. 2011 she was appointed a post as visiting professor at Art College Berlin-Weißensee.

Artist: Khaled Hasan / Dhaka Bangladesh

I was born into a Muslim family, and I fell in love with a woman, who is Hindu. I was born in Bangladesh, she in India. When we decided to marry we were engulfed in chaos, our families opposed the match. Our marriage is a social error, politically wrong, they said. But we believed it is not our fault that our families belong to different religions, that they don’t like each other’s religions. We are just two people in love. Isn’t this simple fact enough? I faced death threats, we were on the run for months, and we were stripped of all support. We became fugitives in another country. In the realm of religion we have sinned. They seized the opportunity to punish us, after all we have defiled their faiths, debased their trust in us. Only for religion? We suffered and continue to be separated because of the faith of others. They try to squash our love to prove their devotion to religion. So, what is our identity? Is she still a Hindu and I a Muslim? Haven’t we lost it? Isn’t this rape of our rights, our humanity and our personhood? Isn’t this the death of individuality, thereby death of “them” and also yours? At the funeral of two individualities, I lay confused. Have we embarked on a wrong path or our way is right and theirs wrong?

Since 2008, I have been documenting myself with my photographs. I want to share my inner emotions with others. I am known as a social documentary photographer, but in my social status, I feel, I am not a social human being. I always controlled by the society and religion. I want to be free.

Even after all these, a violent brutal male human character, often rise up through my veins to burst out of my being. Will these tensions break open the shell and usher a new dawn? Or are they just hype, a fake rising, like that of my forerunners? Like other common believers, I have been faithfully following rites and rituals. But agonistic devils try to tempt me, ceaselessly. This endless, nonstop confusion will continue till the end of my existence.

Khaled Hasan, born in Dhaka in 1981, is a storyteller, inspiring people to appreciate and empathize with the cultures and societies he documents. Hasan began working as a photographer in 2001. He has graduated from South Asian Media Academy and Photojournalism (Pathshala). His works have been published and exhibited worldwide. Hasan has worked as a freelancer for several daily newspapers in Bangladesh and international magazines. His works have been published in major magazines and newspapers in the world: Sunday Times Magazine, American Photo, National Geographic Society, Better Photography, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, Guardian, Telegraph, The Independent and The New Internationalist, Himal Southern, Women’s e-News.

Hasan’s documentary project ‘Living Stone’ has won numerous international awards including the 2008 All Roads Photography Contest of National Geographic Society, the 2009 Grand Prix “Europe and Asia – Dialogue of Cultures” International Photography Contest organized by Museum of Photography, Mark Grosset Documentary Prize 2009 and UNESCO’s Humanity Photo Documentary Award 2009