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By: Andrew Pateras

The Untouchables

Tags: Andrew Pateras, Asia, Photography, Travel,


 

Yesterday, Solomon got a good idea of what I was interested in photographing here in India and as you all know, it is neither the riches of Bollywood nor the inside of shopping malls.
He suggested a few different places to photograph a lot of the “Untouchables”; the lowest caste in India, holding little or no education and doing the most simple of jobs to survive.
 
Our first stop was the Byculla Vegetable Market, the largest open air market in Mumbai. We arrived just before 8am and the crowds were already starting to subside. This market starts at about 4am and is a great place to see what Mumbai is all about. I was literally the only tourist and many of the local merchants called at me to have their picture taken. As I passed by, they were all drawn to the white 70-200 Canon lens that I was shooting with. This market reminded me of my time in Delhi two years ago, as the locals here also loved to have their photo taken!
 
From the market, Solomon promised to take me to the saddest part of Mumbai; the Dharavi Slum is one of the largest slums on the planet. Home to more than One million people, I only got a small taste of what life is like here. Entire families were living in total poverty on the side of the road. When I asked Solomon how they created a family, his answer was simple: “No home, no food, no money, but sex is easy”.
 
I captured many powerful images of families suffering and struggling to survive. These images are stuck in my mind as I was just feet away from children huddled together to keep warm. The look of dismay on their parents faces as they wonder where their next meal will come from.
 
I capture these images to share my experience and hope that you can also get a sense of what is really important in life.
 
Have a gander at what a tough life really looks like. I have to warn you, some images are disturbing.