In order to keep up with my deadline (which is today!) I decided to go ahead with the idea of photographing people on the Metro. I think this concept fits best in the brief that asks for an exploration of the nature of documentary and making the images as candid and taken from ‘real life ‘ as possible. I haven’t heard back from my tutor yet but I assume he'll agree.
In this assignment I want to focus on the segregation of men and women in the Metro that actually is a reflection of the segregation of men and women in Indian society in general. Women are still seen as inferior and mainly stay indoors, especially in the more rural or poorer parts of town. The ratio men/women is therefor very disturbed. I’m not sure if it’s a result of it, but I’m sure it plays a significant role, there has been a lot of violence against women in the past few years, of which a few cases made international headlines.
Personally, I have never felt threatened and I’d say that in general Indian men are very polite, but I do find it hard to swallow that you hardly see any women in the street, that they are kept indoors and most of all that they are not seen as equally worthy as men. They are portrayed as vulnerable and an easy catch.
Coming back to the Metro, in a way it is great to have a compartment that is emptier than normal, on the other hand, the fact that it has been put in place is not how it should be. It emphasises the segregation that’s already there and the stigmas that have been put on men and women.
So the idea of this assignment is to show images of the metro with on the one hand images that shows the segregation and on the other hand, images with half women/half men. So I went to the Metro station with the idea of setting up my tripod and photograph ahead to later on shop the images to get the ratios I envisioned.
It turned out to be a bit more difficult than I thought. First of all, I felt quite overwhelmed and stared at, second, it turned out that it is not allowed to take photos in the metro station and metro itself and I did not have enough time to ask for a permission. So I took most images secretly with my iPhone and a few with my normal camera.
I went out to take photos three times in total for only 15 minutes, just the amount of time before I got too nervous and got out. It turned out that one time the ratio actually was half men, half women, so that helped. The other times, men were in the vast majority and I was able to take images that show the segregation properly.
In postprocessing I have cut and pasted a few people to get the ratios right and converted the images to black and white, because in colour it is quite obvious to see the photoshopping, especially with the images that were taken on my iphone. Besides that, there’s quite a lot of noise in the images, which is easier to hide in black and white.
In a few cases it is a pity, because some images have such beautiful light and colours, but I’ll post them so you can still see them. As a set I want to keep the same style though.
Enjoy the images!