i came across this website a while back, right around the same time i watched slumdog millionaire in the theatres. now, for folks who grew up in a third world “developing” nation, the concept of slums aren’t new. squatters, favellas, ghettos, shantytowns…whatever you want to call it, it all sums up to the same thing: a sub-human environment where an overwhelming amount of human beings live. it’s cramped, dirty, dark, dingy…an area generally overlooked by the government, where the forgotten citizens of the country reside. the urban centers of the philippines has an overwhelming amount of squatters, and i used to live half a block away from one when i was growing up. the crazy part about it tho, is that despite the fact that i was only a few steps away from the squatters, i had never really seen one. not up close and personal, not in a way that allowed me to understand what life may have been like for the little boys and girls that i shared a street with. my parents had always kept me away, warning against diseases, violence, crimes, and all sorts of social monsters that were only eager to take an innocent girl like me for their prey. so i continued to live my life, oblivious to the very real conditions that my neighbors were living in.
jonas bendiksen is a photographer that does a really amazing job of capturing not only the environment that poor people in different countries survive in, but offers us a window into the lives, personalities, and spirits of the people that his travels encountered. theplaceswelive.com is a glimpse into a world that many of us only have nightmares about. it highlights four different countries, but the narrative is the same. jonas bendiksen’s photography is captivating, beautiful, and emotional..artistic in the portraits that he composes, but poetic in the stories that his photos and interviews unravel. he brings the shantytown and its inspirational people to your desktop, and i hope the images move you as much as they’ve moved me.
AND! you can purchase the imagery in book-format: The Places We Live (Hardcover).
and just for kicks, here’s a sketchbook drawing just for you 😉