One morning in Delhi I decided to go out on my own rather than taking anyone from the foundation with me. We visited this slum the day before, and I thought doing the same on my own the next day would be a little easier. WIthout telling anyone I walked to the slum, hesitated for a minute in front of its entrance and then started walking through its narrow alleys.
Although many believe that English is spoken by a good majority of people in India, nobody in this community spoke a word of it. What seemed to work was my willingness to come alone, gaining the trust of the inhabitants. I walked to the center of the slum where a tea shop was set up, as well as a small temple. Without exaggeration, the entrances to the homes were the height of a child. Adults would have to stoop down just to pass through the entrances.
While sitting around with the men, I noticed this young boy watching from a distance. Immediately I was moved by his appearance along with his expression. With gestures I asked his father for permission to photograph him, and his father accepted kindly. Just at this moment a young man from the previous day stepped forward. He spoke a little bit of English, and was sweet enough to translate between us.
He told me that doctors had seen this boy, and advised that the skin would heal with time. The appearance was quite severe, as this peeling was evident from head to toe. Although this young boy must have been in some physical distress, he was quite brave and stood with strength for his portrait.
Back home I did a little bit of research on this condition, and realized that his skin would never heal, that he had a form of skin disorder which lacks a cure. The only relief that the medical community can offer this young boy is a lotion to ease the cracking, to provide some sense of comfort.
Since however he lives in this slum, he lacks access to such. This week his portrait will be sent to the pharmaceutical company producing the ointment so as to solicit their support. We can only hope they will be as moved, and act.
Note: These images were made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm lens onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO Film using natural light only.
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