August 19, 2010

Street sweepers

When I was in New Delhi earlier this year the city was in the throes of a road construction blitz as it was readying itself for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. 

Here I was a bit stunned to see the contrast between the large road building equipment and this group of street sweepers in New Delhi. This quick snapshot I took I find interesting: the palpable class distinction between the working teams is so striking. Just look at their ages and dress; no safety vests for the sweepers. What I also don't grasp is what the sweepers can accomplish with their primitive brushes that the machines cannot.

New Delhi, 2010

Working in this oppressive heat and dust all day, all week, my world would be swirling:


This post is offered for the meme Theme Thursday where the prompt is BRUSH. Click on the link for many creative takes on the theme. Click on a photo to see it enlarged.

24 comments:

cieldequimper said...

Yes the contrast is striking. The second photo is fantastic.

Alea said...

Thought provoking pictures! The contrast is striking!

Julie said...

I like the post, good topic. I like the PP of the photos - is that sepia? ANd the swirling is just great together with the look on her face.

It is not a male'female divide, nor an old/young. It could be case, or it could be socio-economic.

What can they accomplish that the machines cant? The do probably create a smoother top layer. But what they really do, is earn an income for another family.

Really good response to the theme.

Francisca said...

@Julie - I'm not a Photoshop genius, I just desat, give a little more contrast and add a warm filter. The original colors were not interesting. The swirl I did with a filter and second layer where I erased the woman to show her normal on the base layer.

I do think the street workers are older and/or female, while the others are the usual working age men 25-45ish. I certainly think there's a caste distinction here. Of course you're right about the income, paltry though it may be.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Joanne said...

India, without a doubt a country for a lot of deliberation, I spent a month travelling there and found it very hard to digest but then again extremely fascinating.
I found that once I got home I managed to see it from a distance and appreciate it more:) I would like to go back again some day!

Brian Miller said...

wonderful pics...particularly the second one...while they do not earn much they do earn some...good, but...ah i need to do some research before i form an opinion on this one...smiles. lovely pics though. happy tt!

Gabriela Abalo said...

Great take on the theme. I love the composition of your 1st picture, and what you did with the 2nd one is great.

That kind of street sweepers are found in Africa too, thy really keep the streets clean and earn some little money to take home.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

loveNlight
Gabi

Anita Johnson said...

I've been staring at these photos...just so hard to grasp that kind of manual labor...especially for women. The previous photo of the koi was beautiful, we actually have a koi pond in our yard here in Wisconsin. Your blog is fascinating.

JM said...

Very interesting post. India is a contrast in everyway! Love the bottom shot.

EG Wow said...

I imagine there are many such contrasts in India where there's such a HUGE difference between the rich and poor. This is such a wonderful post, Francisca!

AmyLK said...

very lovely photos. LOVE the second one. Happy TT

tapirgal said...

The top photo is spectacular. It's easy to see the intensity and tradition in the older sweepers. As to what they accomplish, could it have to do with keeping them employed? Also, for those around, better them than a leaf blower. There was a guy in the parking lot next door the other day blowing dirt with one of those things out of the parking area where they were doing some work. Where were they blowing the dirt? Onto my car and building. How thoughtless is that? I would feel sorry seeing someone doing such hard work in the heat with these brooms. It's hard to know what to say about it, and gives one pause for thought.

tapirgal said...

@ F, Re, the bolt in the ground: We allow plenty of public hazards here, we simply hide them, such as allowing corporations to pollute our food in ways that other countries ban legally.

moondustwriter said...

We take so much for granted. What a job to sweep the street on your hands and knees
Nice TT

mine is here

Everyday Goddess said...

You've captured quite a feeling, especially in the second shot. It's hard for me to fathom their life.

found you at theme thursday

Me said...

What a striking set of photos. Visually engaging, but their true beauty is in the conversations and thoughts you've started today.

Great TT!
-C

Jill said...

I will be ever so thankful with my big broom and sweeper...I cannot imagine the back breaking work with such a little wisp of a broom!
Wonderful photographs.

The Silver Fox said...

Fascinating glimpse of their lives, that told so much.

Kaori said...

It must take hours and hours to finish sweeping! Your second photo says it all.

Hilda said...

In India as in the Philippines, I guess unskilled labor is so much cheaper than buying machines and paying one skilled worker. :(

Evelyn said...

Very nice shots.

T. Becque said...

I always enjoy these types of photos for the insight into a culture/country. The bottom photo really has a tension to it with the motion as if we can feel her plight.

Slugyard said...

Love the B/W effects. Great shots!

michael bird said...

The second photo is a beauty. What a wonder your blog is!