Around 10pm the night before this photo was taken, Samsul, a watermelon farmer, had boarded his boat in Barishal, a district of Bangladesh. He’d sailed through the night to Dhaka, mooring in the capital’s Sadarghat port, on the Buriganga River.
Around 5am, his trawler had taken its spot alongside another, selling pumpkins, and the farmer turned sailor transformed once again – this time into an auctioneer, selling off his produce at wholesale prices to local market sellers.
By the time Saiful Islam wandered by, at around 7.30am, many of Samsul’s watermelons had already been sold and enjoyed across the capital, and much of the farmer’s long shift was over.
Islam, a software engineer who takes photographs as a hobby, had the day off work and had headed to the port with his younger brother to shoot whatever he might come across. He describes the area as a hubbub of activity: shouting, bartering, cameraderie.
“I saw him from a distance, and stood on the railing of the boat to get the shot. I didn’t disturb him, as I knew how tired he must be, but he woke up a few minutes later. We chatted and I showed him the photo. ‘Oh my God!’ he said.
“It was already a very hot day, so he gave us each a free watermelon and went back to his boat, smiling.”