February 9, 2012
I sailed from Turkey to India in 2010 and since arriving in Cochin I've never left. It is now my home and slowly, very slowly, I have been getting under the skin of India and finding out what makes Indians tick. Cochin is in the state of Kerala, which is one of the most affluent and the most educated of all the states in India, but a contingency of residents are still employed in manual labour. These workers are reducing in number as the generation beneath them receive a good education and move in to white-collar jobs. The workers are fascinating to watch; I can spend hours wandering the wholesale fruit depots, or the still-functioning colonial warehouses, where skinny men in blue dhotis (wrap-around skirts) carry 30 kilo sacks of pineapples on their heads and wander the tight streets to make their delivery without complaint. I've been taking natural-light portraits of these workers, sometimes within the context of their environment but more often than not close-ups, over the last two years. Most only speak Malayalam, the regional language, not even Hindi, so although I get to know their job and their workplace, I rarely get to find out who they are and what they are all about. These intimate portraits are as close as I will ever get to these people.
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