Some people cringe and cast judgment on photographers who choose to photograph beggars, the homeless, drug addicts, the downtrodden. To these critics, I ask, "What have you done to help the situation other than to turn your back on it?"
Poverty is reality. And poverty in Mumbai is vast and all-encompassing. You literally can't escape it when you travel. There are always reminders, like this little girl, who would approach you asking for money if you passed through her turf during a traffic stop.
What's to be done about it? Do you simply give beggars money? There are strong cases for and against this. I don't have the answers. But one thing's certain. I won't stop taking photographs of people on the streets because it makes some people uncomfortable or agitated in some ridiculous way. Because I make some pretty pictures. But I also don't shy away from showing the gritty life on the streets of Mumbai.
For those who are offended, there's a picture of a fucking rainbow or sunset that will cheer you up not far from here.
Expect no apologies. Expect no politeness if you want to argue with me over the merits of my documenting the existential scenes of our shared realities. If it seems like I'm angry, it's because I absolutely am. These conditions shouldn't exist in the 21st Century. And by no means should there be an uproar against the messengers - photographers like myself - who choose to bring this issue to the forefront. The outrage should be directed against the causes of poverty. Only then will solutions be found.
January 22, 2018. Mumbai, India.