This Belgian Photographer Came To India To Photograph Women From The Most Ignored Communities
- JWB Post
- August 3, 2015
A Belgian photographer, Pascal Mannaerts, traveled to India to capture the lives of Indian women from the most ignored communities. This project has been named as ‘Fate Breakers’.
His list included widows of Varanasi, acid attack survivors, rape victims, transgenders, etc. Pascal tells, “Like elsewhere in the world, in India, too, there are really tough situations that seem almost impossible to deal with. I’m amazed by the strength that the local women show as they make all efforts to overcome those difficulties.”
His curious journey took him to cities like Chandigarh, Pune, Panjim, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and even some parts of Rajasthan. Talking about his project, he tells, “‘Fate breakers’ portrays several stories of Indian women whom I had an opportunity to meet and spend time with. They are fighting against prejudice and determinism, be it from birth, from life’s perils, from intolerance or disrespect towards the other. These women have managed to beat the odds to make a difference and empower themselves, for their sake and for others. They represent the hope that things can get better.”
Isn’t it heartening to see this foreigner embracing these women while most of us have rejected them? To answer this question, he says, “People do ask me if, being a male photographer and a foreigner, it was difficult for me to make them feel comfortable in my presence. But quite honestly, it wasn’t a problem. I always say that photography is about the human being and about being human. If you are respectful, if your approach is honest and if you are aware of what is acceptable behaviour in the local culture then it is generally easy going.”
His exhibition features six groups of women:
- The ‘untouchable’ community in Alwar and Tonk in Rajasthan, who have found their way out of manual scavenging with the support of Sulabh International;
- The physically disabled youngsters from Divyajyoti Centre in Varanasi that provides them with valuable vocational training;
- The women rescued by Guria, a Varanasi-based non-profit that fights prostitution;
- The widows of Vrindavan;
- Acid attack survivors associated with the Stop Acid Attacks campaign; and
- The proud members of the transgender community.
His quotes are taken from thebetterindia.com.