This documentary photography was submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by Photographer Anja Bruehling.
Click on any image to see Anja’s projects.
From project “Brick Workers” by Anja Briehling.
India is a fascinating place and a true microcosm of human life. Spanning the entire spectrum from joy to sorrow, from extreme wealth to extreme poverty, from top notch medical care to non-existent, from hunger to extreme gorging, from healthy to the sick. India is a place where every single idea about human living, about life and its associated philosophies, about political systems, about law and order can be explored. You can come away extremely sad, depressed and rejecting of everything that is India. Alternatively, you come away with an exhilarating feeling to explore more, do more, try more, and live more in every facet of one’s life. This is driven simply by taking a look at how even the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor are driven to work hard, live hard and take life in its stride with all that it has to offer.
There are so many communities that can be examined to illustrate the hardships suffered by the many people living in India. My story examines ‘Brick Workers’. Brick building in India is a back breaking tough work compounded by issues such as bonded labor, exploitation of the poor, uneducated. Estimates show that there are over 100,000 kilns all over India with an estimated 12.5 million to 25 million people working. India’s brick industry contributes around $4bn to the country’s economy every year. The problem is all the more serious in the northern parts of India such as Uttar Pradesh due to over population, lack of education and corrupt politicians and businessmen.
In all of this hardship, there is a positive spirit – a spirit of joy, camaraderie, ‘can do’ and, a spirit of trying to do the best they can for them and their children. I started my project three years ago and have not only captured the indomitable spirit, the work ethic, the sheer hard labor, the sheer family togetherness of the ‘Brick Workers’, but also their suffering, their hardships and their working conditions. The country is going thru an enormous change yet again and there is hope that these will be positive changes, with a distinct improvement in the working lives as well as their living conditions overall. No place could be better illustration of this change than Varanasi as it is now the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister of India. My work is a showcase, a viewpoint about these wonderful people who for me illustrate very directly all that the workers / laborers of the world do to fulfill their life commitments.
By Anja Bruehling