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Mumbai Sleeping | Photography: Dhruv Dhawan

Mumbai Sleeping | Photography: Dhruv Dhawan | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

I began photographing Mumbai Sleeping in the summer of 2009 to explore the diversity of a basic human experience such as sleep. I was in awe of the taxi drivers in particular who slept in such a romantic balance with their vehicles after leaving their families in the rural parts of India to make a living in the city of dreams. 

I was also motivated by the opportunity to photograph people while they are unaware of the camera and to remove the politics of the pose from my images. In this sense I liked to believe I was capturing portraits of the unconscious. 

Of the few people that awoke while I was photographing them, no one objected to my actions after I explained what I was doing. I remain ever grateful to India and its people that allow artists to capture real life without the politics of consent.

Over 350 images later I still find myself compelled to document this phenomena of urbanization in the 21st century where space has become so scarce in a city like Mumbai that 'private' acts are often conducted in public. Mumbai Sleeping is a testament to the strength and human spirit of the lower class urban population that drive the wheel of the city by day and sleep on it at night - forcing us to question whether a good night’s sleep is a luxury or a necessity.

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Debbie Lynch's curator insight, January 26, 2015 4:24 PM

Dhru Dhawan's photographic investigation of the sleeping night life of Mumbai is intriguing. By exploring a basic human need, sleep, he captures  his subjects with intimacy. His motivation to "photograph people while they are unaware of the camera and to remove the politics of the pose from my images" results in stark images never seen before. One interesting quote he makes is that after "Over 350 images later I still find myself compelled to document this phenomena of urbanization in the 21st century where space has become so scarce in a city like Mumbai that 'private' acts are often conducted in public. Mumbai Sleeping is a testament to the strength and human spirit of the lower class urban population that drive the wheel of the city by day and sleep on it at night - forcing us to question whether a good night’s sleep is a luxury or a necessity." I think this statement says much about the motivations of the modern world and how we view "necessities when faced with few options.

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-40/96º | Photojournalist: Mikel Aristregi

-40/96º | Photojournalist: Mikel Aristregi | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

Mongolia holds numerous records related to the consumption of alcohol, among them having the most alcoholic population in the world. According to the information published by the Center of Mental Health and Narcotics (CMHN) of Ulan Bator, 22 percent of the Mongolian males between 15 and 65 are addicted to the alcohol, which is equivalent to the fourth of its masculine population. Some of these people end up losing the control of their lives in a progressive deterioration and degradation of their social relationships and skills until they loose everything they have, even their families, ending up living as a homeless in the street. Unfortunately, so far nothing exceptional, but taking into an account that the average temperature during the long Mongolian winter, which goes from November to March, is -20 degrees Celsius, thing gets much worse.

 

I arrived to Mongolia with the only goal of finding out how these homeless people do to deal with such an adverse weather conditions. And that's how I knew about how they seek shelter amongst the network of underground hot water pipes of the capital, Ulan Bator. Left to their fait, the life of these people happens out of the rest of the citizens and their only worry is to obtain the base of alcohol of 96º that, paradoxically, gives them life and, at the same time, steals it to them.

 

The alcoholic homeless of Ulan Bator are totally helpless and, in general, are perceived as evildoers, lazy people and without any will to get off the gutter by the other citizens, and not as sick people or, even less, as a victims of the brutal socio-economical restructuring that suffered the country with the fall of the Soviet block at the beginning of the 90s. In fact, the majority of the people have stopped considering them humans, turning them into dangerous beasts from whom must to keep as far as possible.

The government lacks any program focused for their rehabilitation. Very on the contrary, the only method for the control of the population of these individuals is their detention and forced internment in the penitentiary and rehabilitation center of Maaint, 100 km from Ulan Bator. In spite of its proved inefficiency, these persons are retained there against their will from 6 to 24 months.- Mikel Aristregi Prieto

 

Photo report's insight:

These photo were published in Nytimes's press: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/underground-and-off-the-radar-in-ulan-bator/

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