TO THE POOREST OF THE POOR book one
click on cover image to open
The photographs in this book, the first in what will be a series of six, possibly seven, are the result of 43 days spent in the slum neighborhoods of Jaipur, Rajasthan (India), days that stretched and challenged emotions and perceptions, among rag pickers, beggars, daily wage workers, and the nomadic Banjara people. In them, my hope is that the sense of love, gratitude, and compassion experienced during this time will be conveyed, will be felt somehow in their viewing. When I look through them, I think, "This is a place that knows no simple answer or exit. These lives matter and are now part of my story, have wrung me out like a cloth, left me not free to look away or rationalize the reality that one and a half billion people live, hope, dream, marry, parent, and grow old in crowded, single rooms, by the side of the road, in tents pitched on land fills, waking up hungry and with hands that hold less than nothing."
There is a question I read during my first time here in 2014, found in the last line of a poem by the great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore (below).
gradually thickens as it falls;
Silence deepens, the world's
Consciousness sleeps. From the
Lonely earth's huge heart
Arises a solemn and painful question,
An agonized prayer flung at the sky:
Where now? How much further?
I hear this question in these images, and hope I always will.
Thank you, has to be said, to my brother Paul; who did so much to set me on this path.
None of this would have happened if he hadn't. Dhanyavaad, many times over. Because
of his love, my heart is full.
March 14, 2017
photographs and text by Lee Cantelon copyright 2017