Bite! magazine » 2010

Balika Mela – Fair For Girls

I have photographed in rural Rajasthan for ten years now, in villages. Over the years I developed a relationship with the NGO Urmul Setu Sansthan, in Lunkaransar town, where I knew I could always stay when I was passing through. In 2003 they organised a Balika Mela – or fair for girls, attended by almost fifteen hundred adolescent girls from 70 odd villages. At the Mela, I created a photo-stall for people to come in and have their portraits taken, and then buy at a subsidised rate. I had a few basic props and backdrops – whatever we could get from the local town on our limited budget, but it was fairly minimal, and since it’s dusty and out in the desert everything would keep getting blown around anyway. Some of the girls who posed for these pictures also went on to learn photography in the workshops that we started in May of that year, and two years later they documented the fair themselves.

Levels Of Reality

Nariman Ansari: This project is also about cultural stereotypes. The way that we ‘read’ and profile each other in society. How the media and society view women in Pakistan. It is almost an anthropological study of the clichés and science involved; using myself as the constant, I wanted to explore the code that goes into creating a stereotype. What do these women say about where they come from? Who is the Pakistani woman? And which stereotype am I?

“Is she crazy? Is she bored?”

Philippines documentary photographer Tammy David: Two years ago, I was shocked to learn that my law school bound friend was training to join the National beauty pageant. “Is she crazy? Is she bored? Is she broke? There is actually a beauty queen boot camp?” For a long time I had thought only pretty people who wanted fame and fortune would dare to participate in such a spectacle. And like with anything else that intrigued me, I picked up my camera and started to look for answers.

A Phosphorus Bomb Landed In Her House

Black clouds of dust spread to cover the skies of the Gaza Strip in the early morning of Saturday 27th of December, 2008. Multiple Israeli war planes started a series of air raids in over than sixty different locations of police stations and compounds as the first day of a 23 days war in Gaza started. Palestinian medical sources in Gaza declared that at least 1300 Palestinians were killed, nearly a third of them children. Sabha Abu Halima’s house was mostly destroyed by fire after it was hit by a phosphorus bomb that landed in her house. Sabha, her son Ali and granddaughter Farah (2), were seriously burnt. The father of the family, Sa’ad Alah Matr Abu Halima, and five of his children were killed.

Life Hasn’t Changed By The Tsunami

Indonesian photographer Veronica F. Wijaya: “When the tsunami hit Aceh, Indonesia in 2004, a hundred thousand people died and tens of thousand houses were destroyed. It wiped out the infrastructure, making the region inhabitable. In Teluk Dalam, South of Nias, life hasn’t changed by the tsunami for the family in these photographs. They had been living in a shack, and reconstructed it, seeing no reason to move to a tent camp for homeless and displaced people. They preferred the relative comfort of their slum house. These photographs document what their living conditions are like.

Perhaps Our Daily Lives Are All Absurd

Zhang Xiao: “Behind this ostentatious city, there is always grief and tears, indifference and cruelty. I met them by chance and I longed to understand each of their lives and experiences. What were they thinking in the moment that these photographs were taken? Perhaps everyone has a different answer, and perhaps they have no answer at all. What was I thinking when I photographed them? I have no answer either. Because I am one of them, I am also indifferent. Perhaps our daily lives are all absurd.”

Where Wild Weeds And Modern Things Overlap

Huang Xiaoliang: “An Expectation or a New Miracle” is my series related to memory and yearning for the future. Many things from my memory appear in these works; these things are from scenes that I remember. The works are all on a line, like a platform for my feelings, where wild weeds and modern things overlap, uncovering some tiny specks of hope in a sad situation. All of this emerges from the shadows – shadows can be seen, but the thing itself cannot, as if it were the principle of time. It is like the reverse image of yourself in water, which allows you to examine yourself in the mist.Slight sadness is an absolutely necessary attitude towards past memories.

Most Of The Time I Allow The Audience To Be A Voyeur

The body images in this series related to a desire to reach intimacy and to the anxiety of unfulfilled intimacy. I employed a digital scanner as the camera in this series. I constructed life-size full body images of myself by scanning/photographing my body, section by section. Eighteen to twenty-four segmented images are used for each full body image. Scanner technology is normally used to reproduce. I used it to attempt to reveal my intimate self. Ironically, I saw the glass of the scanner as a symbolic barrier; no matter how accurately I express myself, there is always a barrier between others and me. Historically, patriarchal views dominate the representation of woman. Having lived in both the United States and China, I have been exposed to many rigid stereotypes about Chinese women in the popular imagination and everyday language. I cannot see myself as represented accurately in these ideas, but they are constantly projected on me by others. It is therefore important for me to be able to control my own image as a Chinese woman and to confirm my existence by making it public.

I Often Walked Around Zhuantang’s Street

Wang Huan, winner of the Three Shadows Photography Award’s Shiseido Prize: In the small town of Zhuantang near Hangzhou, lives a group of simple, decent people. It was this simplicity that moved me and made me want to record their lives and engage in this narration about life’s vicissitudes. By using a camera to catch this simplicity, I also achieved my artistic intention. As a result, I often walked around Zhuantang’s streets and alleys with my “toy camera,” keeping my “image diary”, my “alley graffiti.”

These Pure, Unaffected And Dirty Children

Yamalike Mountain lies in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The Urumqi Train Station stands at the foot of the mountain, with the railroad tracks forming a border of sorts. Yamalike Mountain is Urumqi’s main shanty-town, and people call it the slums. Tens of thousands of migrant or semi-migrant Uighur, Hui, Han, and Kyrghiz people live there. The mountain is their home, and the city below is the place where they try to make a living and pursue their dreams. Drawn there by destiny, I started taking photographs of this wild and lively mountain by chance. I became captivated by these pure, unaffected and dirty children.