Delhi Photo Festival: Contemporary Social Issues

Delhi Photo Festival

This series of photographs highlights various contemporary social issues from India and all over the world. Having witnessed the problems firsthand, these photographers provide a unique perspective into a troubled world.
From the series 'Dreaming Food' by Alessio Mamo

Dreaming Food 

'Dreaming Food' is a conceptual project about the hunger issue in India. Despite economic growth, a majority of the Indian population still lives in extreme poverty and disease. These pictures are taken in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorest states in India, where the conditions are worse than the cities and where close to 70% of India’s population still reside today. Alessio carried with him a table and some fake food, and told people to dream about food they would like to find on their table.

From the series 'Koondankulam: In My Backyard' by Amirtharaj Stephen

Koodankulam: In My Backyard 

'Koodankulam: In My Backyard' is a photographic series taken in the midst of the local uprising against the Indian and Russian governments for construction of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). Since the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in Japan, the people have been protesting for over 650 days. Though these protests have been non-violent in nature, they have been repeatedly subject to violence by government forces. Today, the Koodankulam protests support the cause for debate of the presence of nuclear power in India, and also questions the very foundation on which India was built.

From the series 'The Holi of Widows' by Andrea de Franciscis

The Holi of Widows 

This year the widows of Vrindavan celebrated Holi for the first time in many years, the death of their husbands having condemned them to a life of solitude and renunciation. This is a stigma that society buckles to women as condemnation without petition. Several widows end up living in the ashrams managed by the government and local NGOs in the holy city of Vrindavan, where thousands of neglected women have found shelter. This year the Indian NGO Sulabh International, which runs five ashrams in Vrindavan, arranged a special Holi for the widows. Today the doors of the ashram are open and music booms from the atrium and these women’s white saris are dyed with the colours of Holi.

From the series 'Jadugoda: The Nuclear Graveyard' by Chinky Shukla

Jadugoda: The Nuclear Graveyard 

By 2032, India hopes to generate 63 gigawatts of nuclear power that would remove its dependence for energy and put it on the path to progress. But progress, they say, comes at a price. The photo essay documents this dark legacy of Jadugoda, the horrifying expense of unchecked progress through the eyes of its people. Jadugoda, once a place of scenic beauty is now a man-made hell. Left to fend for themselves, the people of Jadugoda are being sacrificed at the altar of development.

From the series 'Citizen Nagar' by Mohit Bhatia

Citizen Nagar 

We keep writing to our state. 

There is so much to write. 

They seem to have forgotten the people of Citizen Nagar. 

We'll be right back once again. 

This photo essay is about the hundred odd riot-affected Muslim minority families of the internally displaced people (IDP) of Naroda Patiya in Ahmedabad, who have been resettled next to a landfill for the last eleven years.

From the series 'Renunciation' by Pooja Jain


Coming from a Jain community, Pooja always encountered debates and long conversation on renunciation that ignited her deep interest in the subject. In the year 2006, her curiosity brought her amidst these nuns and she started documenting their lives, to find convincing answers as to what spiritual abandonment meant to them. Around the same time she began studying photography. It was only in the year 2009 that she was successful in building a respectful bond with some of the nuns. She is still searching for satisfying answers from those who have disconnected themselves from this world.

From the series 'White Gold' by Uwe H. Martin 

White Gold 

While India is shining at the small top of its society, in the cities, the country faces the worst agricultural crisis since the Green Revolution. In India 60% of the population still depends directly or indirectly on agriculture. Essentially it is the largest farming community in the world. But this India of villages and small farms is increasingly neglected and often abandoned in favour of the new economy based in industry and cities. Following the obvious signs of hopeless demoralization, White Gold investigates the cotton production and its social costs in the Vidarbha region.

From the series '50 Minutes' by Saptarshi Sanyal

50 Minutes 

The local train was a daily necessity. It wasn’t luxurious – with mere millimetres separating me from fellow commuters, I would resign into ephemeral struggle every day. Notwithstanding the assault on my senses, I learnt how to carve out gaps with my legs, shoulders, elbows and hands. This project essays empathy, sometimes contempt, that I felt everyday; for the familiar yet anonymous commuting millions like me. It portrays the train's interior as a traveller - a strange and perverse vehicle of human equity. No different from the people I show – we escape the crowd into exhausted stupor. The marks we wear are torn away in this world that exists in a journey of 50 Minutes.

From the series 'Future Plan' by Alvari Laiz & David Rengel (ANHUA) 

Future Plan 

The Lord’s Resistance Army has been kidnapping children for over 25 years, to train them as soldiers to fight against the Ugandan Army. Deprived of an education and brought up in a culture of extreme violence, they are forced to kill and abduct people. The few that manage to return are rejected a society who blames them for the deaths of their relatives and friends. Future Plan is a project in collaboration with various NGOs, who have worked with children who have grown up in refugee camps in Uganda and have now reached adulthood. Imagine your life was a great plain wall. Imagine you have a piece of chalk- what would you write for yourself?

From the series 'Babel: The Urge to Pray' by Viviana Peretti

Babel: The Urge to Pray 

Religion is something that has inflamed the United States of America for almost their entire history. New York is not just a multi ethnic, dynamic, consumer-driven metropolis but also a ’Babel’ full of enclaves, mainly faith based. For many people in the city, religion represents a source of community and intimacy with their fellows and at the same time an element of separation from the rest of the world that doesn't share their beliefs. In a metropolis that is all about melting, faith allows many people to preserve their identity by segregating them from the rest of society.

From the series 'Where We Live Matters' by Philippe Schneider

Where We Live Matters 

Where we live matters. Our place of residence dictates whether or not we have access to basic services, whether or not we are employable, if we are even fully human in society's eyes. We draw a clear distinction between the slum dwellers and ourselves. Slums are often perceived as dark, frightening places, the corners of our cities that we often choose not to see. Paga Hill is no different. This project aims to challenge the viewer's perception of slum dwellers and to highlight the critical truth that, irrespective of a person's place of residence, all people have the same basic needs, hopes and fears.

From the series 'Shadow in Greece' by Enri Canaj

Shadow in Greece 

Greece has changed. You can spot the difference in every step, street and face. People creep through the cities like shadows – heads down, stiff shoulders, sealed lips. Unemployment spreads doubts and fears and fuels insecurity and crime. While the stock market falls, suicides are on a steady rise. More people sleep on the streets, the stars form their blankets. Even more people dive into dumpsters in search of food. Despite their lives sharing similar paths, they still feel alone.

From the series 'Absent Husband' by Chun Hua Catherine Dong

Absent Husband 

This work explores failure in marriage through reconfiguring personal memory in order to mend and translate emotions. They are evidence of constructed reality that blurs boundaries between private and public, between subject and object, and between art and life. This work transcends personal experience and reality. It is an embodiment of a melancholic longing for an unrecoverable past and a memento mori, a constant reminder of the inexorable passage of time.

From the series 'Living Death' by Ranak Martin

Living Death 

'Living Death' is a long-term personal project about forced underage sex trade in Kandapara, the largest brothel in Tangail, Bangladesh. For the past two years, Ranak has been documenting the daily life of underage sex slaves in this brothel. With this project, he aims to draw people’s attention to the unfortunate, shameful fact that underage girls are regularly abducted and supplied to the owners of brothels, who force these minors into selling their bodies as well as souls. This is a reality that happens every day, with these girls’ humanity under siege.

From the series 'Tobacco Tale' by Sayed Asif Mahmud

Tobacco Tale 

'Tobacco Tale' depicts the cycle of destruction, a bizarre reality of tobacco industry in Bangladesh—documentation of disposing people to unfortunate death and decay. This is the tale of tobacco that depicts the story of that workforce who changes the form of the lush green leaves; continuously challenging their helpless insignificant lives in the golden dust.This project intends to portray the whole scenario from cultivation of tobacco to the aftermath of tobacco consumption. Sayed’s endeavourer is to depict this bizarre reality, a documentation of disposing people to unfortunate death and decay.

From the series 'Giraffe behind the Door' by Asmita Parelkar

Giraffe behind the Door 

“God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.” - Jacques Deval

'Giraffe behind the Door' is a project about animals in captivity. As human beings evolved so did the environment around us. We built walls, set boundaries and kept the wilderness out. In our efforts to connect back with nature we built gardens and zoos, confining the wild animals in cages and glass boxes. Giraffe behind the Door is a journey through the five zoos in New York and the psychological spaces of these animals.

  From the series 'Biography of Cancer' by Jason Sangik Noh

Biography of Cancer 

In 2005, about seventy thousand people died of cancer, in South Korea. With this sobering statistic, Jason Sangik Noh started the work, Biography of Cancer. It’s about an encounter with cancer, dramatic treatments, euphoric successes, tragic failures, deaths, and the relentless battles faced by the doctors and patients. It is also a meditation on illness, medical ethics, and the complex, intertwining lives of concerned people.

From the series 'Relationships' by Arnold Reinisch


“An arrangement of sculptures complemented by people” is how Arnold Reinisch describes 'Relationships', a successfully growing series of photos started in 2011. The concept of the work is in a sense, to make these anthropomorphic sculptures, made from modified household appliances, machines and tools, appear to be as much like individuals as possible. 

Using them, he builds changing scenarios that resemble suburban living rooms. The pictures show men with their supposed mistresses, questioning relationships such as the male attitude towards daily housework.

From the series 'Wound' by Samad Ghorbanzadeh


The nature of the concept of woman and femininity has always been the subject of many debates through different points of view in societies. The concept of femininity can be addressed from different aspects, though the most important factor in formation of this collection is investigating the issue of trauma or psychological trauma as Freud mentions. Samad Ghorbanzadeh has expressed this concept in the photographic series, 'Wound'.

From the series 'Close Distance' by Jannatul Mawa

Close Distance 

Traditionally a housemaid works for just two meals a day and assists middle-class women, both housewives and working women, in Bangladesh. Her domestic role causes her to be ‘close’ to the middle class women, yet ‘distant’ at the same time. Jannatul’s intention was to capture this relationship by creating a rare opportunity to keep a close distance.

From the series 'Libya at the Crossroads' by Jean-Marc Caimi

Libya at the Crossroads 

Libya. Hundred thousands of ex-rebel fighters are struggling for a new life after the revolution. Majority lost their job, often in companies linked to the regime of Gaddafi. Faced with various problems, many are still grieving their parents’ loss during the war. After the revolution there might be more intellectual freedom in this oil rich country, but very few are in the position to take advantage of it. Libya’s most difficult challenge towards gaining freedom has not passed. It is here and now.

Credits: Story

Delhi Photo Festival 2013 —

Credits: All media
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