Dharavi, Meri Jaan

As a collaborative effort between Point of View and SNEHA, a workshop was arranged for the teenagers of Dharavi and Ghatkopar slum area from December 2010 to March 2011. These youngsters from Dharavi had already helped these organizations throughout their campaigns against domestic violence in Mumbai. The photography workshop was organized to provide them with a creative means of expression through a medium that, for most of them, was totally alien. Point of View involved the Photography Promotion Trust, an organization that uses socially relevant photographs to fuel change. Under the guidance of a team of photographers led by Sudharak Olwe, a renowned photographer from the Times Group, boys and girls learnt the finer nuances of handling cameras and identifying subjects of their interest. They were exposed to the various styles of creativity used in photography, which ultimately allowed them to define their own unique styles and gazes.


The workshop culminated in an exhibition of photographs showcasing the work of the thirteen teenagers who benefited immensely from it. Premiered at Ganesh Vidyamandir Primary School, Dharavi, on 25 May 2011, the exhibit attracted visitors from both without and outside Dharavi. Social activists and media houses around Mumbai took a keen interest in the exhibition and the journey of these 13 teenagers.  The event was covered by three English dailies in Mumbai- Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Mumbai Mirror and two other popular Marathi dailies- Sakal and Loksatta. According to The Indian Express- ‘The outcome of their endeavour has been markedly different from the scores of romanticised photographs regularly churned out by shutterbugs and tourists.’


The photography workshop was not just a way for the youngsters to express their thoughts, but contribute to SNEHA’s campaigns in a creative manners.. Being essential catalysts for creating social awareness made them achieve a sense of pride and boosted their feeling of self worth. One of the artists, 18-year-old Rohit Pacharne, says, “I was not interested in the workshop when it started. Now I’m considering being a professional photographer. The way I look at the world has changed. I have taken pictures of the neighbourhood in different kinds of light and of my home and my mother making chapattis. People are not comfortable with photographers who come from outside. But with me they were at ease as I am from here. In fact, I clicked so many times that people started joking that I had lost it.”



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