Look at the photo below. It is a sad picture, because it shows an old man in the village of Nandgaon, squatting on the road and eating some street food that we had got for him.
There is poverty here, a quiet poverty, that you can see. It is possible to enter into one of those endless debates about justice, economic development and then sit back and have a beer.
There is no doubt that poverty is sad. There is also no doubt that we don’t feel it. We are touched by it, but we don’t experience it.
Now, look at the photograph below. This, in my view, is a really sad picture. After he had eaten what we gave him, I asked him if he wanted some more. He asked for ten rupees, which is about 17 American cents.
As soon as I gave him this money, he posed for me, like a monkey on display. I took the photo, but I came away saddened. Why would he do this? I don’t have an answer, but when we go out onto the streets to photograph people, we need to remember one thing.
All living beings have dignity. It is this dignity that we must seek to capture.
We are part of this life. Putting a lens between us and the subject does not, in anyway, distance ourselves from this.
Look deep into his eyes, and you will know what I mean.
What do you feel when you look into his eyes?