Monday, February 11, 2008

Slums, slums, slums...

Wherever I go there are slums everywhere... Shocking? Thought awakening? Maybe both. I just pass by one, now. It is by a fairly big swamp. Although it is the dry season now, the swamp is still filled with water, and... with mosquitoes. The bank of it, however, is covered by stone-hard soil and dust. There where they are living. The floor is pure dust, the cover is whatever they have found: paper, plastic, for the luckier tin.

I was wondering around this camp for quite a while in the past weeks, but somehow I never had the a courage to enter... How would they greet me? Like a stupid foreigner who comes here to enjoy their poverty? But suddenly I see a man who draws my attention-and he looks back and smiles. The first contact has been made, and is positive! I already know how much it means in photojournalism; if there is some mutual interest arise before even taking the camera for shooting, then there is every chance for a good shot; Then already some unexplainable has happened: a link was built up between two human souls. Two souls are connected, who are often separated by wast distances from one and other all in space, hopes, fears, chances, talents, and so on.

I catch the moment and enter the slums. I take the camera and show it to the man asking him with my eyes whether I can take his picture. He nodes as a sign of acceptance. Soon I see old people playing cards, some 20m from me. They are not happy and start to shout. Damn...

One of them calls me with his hand. I go there and in a few moments many things run through my mind: this camera worth that much as about one year salary of these people; I am getting farther from the road deep into the slums... On the other hand without risk there is no success; there was no point coming to India if I fear to take my chances-so, I approach.

A younger guy speaks some English.
-What want?
-I'd just like to take some pictures -and I show the camera and smile
Should I say yes? Maybe they'd like to be there...
-No. I am an amateur photographer from Europe (I bet they don't know Hungary). I shoot interesting people. Whom I am interested in...
They start to talk in Marathi amoung them, then the young guy say:

-All right; You photo young people, not us. and people over there.

-Thank you! (big smile)

I'd start to leave when one of the card players calls me back: he would like to be photographed, but not the others.
-That OK, I say and I use shallow dof to blur the other players. Play honest-a voice tells in me...

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