Brickworks…the story continues.

I really don’t know how to put things into words sometimes…maybe its better to let the images speak for themselves. Maybe that’s what photojournalism is…I don’t know.

I went back to the brickworks again over the weekend…this is my third trip there. I’m still trying to balance a number of conflicting thoughts and feelings. I want to record what I see with honesty; I want to ensure that my images aren’t demeaning in any way, and I want to try and understand the context. Its easy to simply say that its wrong that children are working, but in a country where poverty is rife, the solutions aren’t always straightforward.

So, for now, what you (and I) are left with is a narrative which tells you what is happening…and a conscious decision to portray the processes involved in black & white, and the people in colour. (If you want to see what I’m aspiring to in my black & white photographs, check out the work of Sebastiao Salgado, although I’ve got a long way to go!)

The kiln area is as far as I can ascertain employs only Indians from the  Bihar region. I wrote a little about that here. This time I went to one of areas surrounding the kiln, where the bricks are made by locals before being fired. It wasn’t entirely premeditated… I just saw this piece of equipment being worked on from a distance, and went to find out what it was.

Making Clay. John Callaway 2011

Making Clay. John Callaway 2011

Clay & water are mixed together by placing them in the top of this machine which is diesel powered. Everything else is entirely manual..digging out, bringing material by barrow to the machine, taking it out by hand (literally) at the other end, and taking it by barrow to the brick making area. (The shadows tell you that it was a pretty hot day, with intense sunlight). As an aside, you can see stacks of unfired bricks in the background above. Below is the ‘business end’ of the machine…

Making clay (II). John Callaway 2011

Making clay (II). John Callaway 2011

Needless to say, the young guys working were keen to have a photograph taken…so here they are…in colour as promised.

Pose...  John Callaway 2011

Pose... John Callaway 2011

The mixed clay is then put into boxes which ensure a degree of uniformity, although you can see from the stack of bricks in the photograph that they are not entirely ‘regular’. The lad in the photograph is very quick and skilled in his task, and is keen to show me how to do it. One brick probably takes about 20 seconds to make. He tells me he’s 15 years old…

Brick Making. John Callaway 2011

Brick Making. John Callaway 2011

Here’s his portrait…

Boy...Brickworks. John Callaway 2011

Boy...Brickworks. John Callaway 2011

And just because I really like this photograph, this is his niece…. Another trip to the photograph shop beckons…

Hand in hand. John Callaway 2011

Hand in hand. John Callaway 2011

Meanwhile, keep watching this space. I’m trying to explore ways in which some of my photographs could be used by organisations who are working in Nepal for the benefit of working children…

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