BEAUTY AND DIGNITY IN THE SLUMS OF INDIA


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SEE STORY BEHIND PHOTOS BELOW!


I want to be a doctor
Bangalore, India

Lady searching
Pune, India

Sitting near the wall
Bangalore, India

Dancer on the market
Mysore, India

Sleeping woman
Darjeeling, India

Blind Lady
Khajuraho, India

Old man in door
Delhi, India

metal worker
Pune, India

Sad Child
Pune, India

Young woman laughing
Bangalore, India

Lady in blue
Bangalore, India

Woman at the well
Mysore, India

Old lady in yellow
Pune, India

Three blind women
Khajuraho, India

Men resting
Khajuraho, India







THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTOS
(The photos below were taken by the children)

When I visited India for the first time in 2003 – as many foreigners – I was frightened at the sight of the slums in the larger cities. As the weeks went by, I couldn’t help but observe and recognize – even from a distance - the beauty and the dignity of the people who dwelled in these slums.

When I returned for a longer stay in 2005, I was determined to enter these areas and – with the permission of the people there – photograph them in their every day life. Beside several digital cameras, I always carry around, this time I brought along a heavy, medium format camera to take really professional quality photos. I entered this strange new world with great apprehension only to find out that the people in the modest dwellings welcomed me with open arms. I regularly had tea and snacks, sitting in the tents or the small shacks. No language exchange was necessary. We understood each other just with a smile. Mothers trustingly put their babies into my arms. I would show them the photos of my own children and grandchildren… We were all mothers understanding each other. No words were needed.

Most of the photos were taken from a low angle. In the language of photography, the angle of the camera tells a lot. I was looking up to these people with great respect and my camera angle betrays that. (Of course as the day progressed and sun was higher and higher on the sky, my ability to bend down – at age 71 - with the heavy camera got more and more difficult; my admiration was still the same, but by early afternoon the camera angle showed a little “less respect”. )

Soon I found out how I could repay the generosity of my new friends. I had extra prints made of the photographs and returned with them. Oh, how happy they were! Nothing could compete with the new photos. More tea, more snacks...

It was an unforgettable, wonderful human experience. The children learned to take pictures with my digital cameras, the ladies quickly became experts loading the film into my old fashioned 'Mamiya 645' camera. But I learned the most!

My love and respect for India was always great but now that I dared to penetrate a world rarely seen by the average tourist, I gained understanding and knowledge I will be always grateful for. What a wonderful opportunity this was. A true gift!

Crashing a wedding in Banganga - Mumbai.





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