Just before leaving the UK for Nepal I wrote something about how an image devoid of context allows the viewer the opportunity to interpret according to their own pre-conceived view of the world, or at least to make certain assumptions about what is happening. (Check out this advertisement for the Guardian Newspaper as an illustration of what I’m on about…)
So…lets try this. Above is a photograph I took earlier in the week of two small boys in a location just outside of Banepa. Children are always keen to have their photograph taken, and these two proved to be no exception. I like the way that the colours of their clothing and the dust somehow seem to give the impression that they are slowly metamorphosing into the landscape. Doesn’t tell you much about whats going on though…
The location is actually a brickworks, some short distance out of Banepa, in the middle of an agricultural area. The Kathmandu Valley is littered with brick kilns, although this one stands somewhat in isolation. Kilns are pretty much part of the landscape here, as the chimneys are not exactly inconspicuous…
I’ve said elsewhere that it’s not often that something leaves me speechless, but my trip out to the brickworks did. Here’s the same boys doing what they do, day in day out….in the brickworks.
This is the base of the brick kiln, and these two young boys were pulling ash out with their bare hands to put into the bucket….
It turns out that the vast majority of people working here are from Bihar in India and those that I talked to spoke even less Nepali than me. Too many thoughts in my head at the moment, but the word that keeps coming back is medieval…
…and frankly it isn’t much easier for adults.
Start here if you want to read more. (And you should…):
CWIN (Child Workers In Nepal)
Footnote: The photographs used above are part of a portfolio of images entitled “Brickworks”.