My first visit to Cox’s Bazar was during my parents’ first holiday together. As a young boy, my grandmother warned me about the deep waters, a caution that echoed even as my mother encouraged me to play in the waves. Her sari fluttered in the breeze. It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally braved the waters and swam.

Throughout my youth in Dhaka, I returned often to Cox’s Bazar, first with family, then with friends. From early days in the sands to my adolescent explorations, this beach on the Bay of Bengal has been a constant presence in my life.

Cox’s Bazar is where people from across the districts, dialects, religions and social strata of Bangladesh come together, as if in a diorama. Ordinary life is illuminated by the refraction of sunlight on sea, animating the rich breadth of Bengali and indigenous cultural heritage.

My journey outward always leads inward, helping me perceive the landscapes of origins. “Sea Beach” remains a touchstone and gateway, where endless waves mirror the cycles of departure and return, symbolizing a communal crossroad of vastness and intimacy.

Bio: Ismail Ferdous is a Bangladeshi photographer and filmmaker who lives in New York City and is interested in human interest stories of the contemporary world. A member of Agence VU’ in Paris and a faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York, his photography and film projects are dedicated to social, cultural and humanitarian themes.
He works for major international newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Geo Magazine, Washington Post, Le Monde and many others. He has also been a frequent contributor to National Geographic Magazine on many stories. Ismail Ferdous’ work has been recognized with awards including World Press Photo, Alexa Foundation grant, Getty Images Instagram grant, and many other major awards in photography.