I like to photograph people who have strength and dignity in their faces. Whatever life has done to them, it has not destroyed them. The portrait as a means of rendering subjective experience, how I look in this pose or that one in a particular situation, an old man, a street child, a parent or in this portrait of an Indian man and so forth standing in the streets of India, the photographer says.
Dadar has long been a cultural center for Maharashtrians and the Marathi speaking population, Kristian Bertel is picturing a neighborhood that also is a transit point for thousands of passengers using the Mumbai Suburban Railway.
Dadar East and Dadar West in Mumbai, India
Dadar is divided into East and West by the railway line. Dadar East is popularly called Dadar Central or Dadar T.T. because the former Dadar Tram Terminus, which was closed with the closure of the tram network in Mumbai, is located here. Dadar West is sometimes referred to as Dadar B.B. because it lies along the western line, which was once part of the Mumbai & Baroda & Central India Railway. Dadar West market is a very popular shopping destination for residents of central Mumbai, the suburbs, and distant satellite towns. Dadar is a neighborhood in Mumbai, and is also a railway station on both the Western, Dadar, and Central lines, Dadar T.T. of the Mumbai Suburban Railway network. Dadar is situated in the heart of Mumbai, and Dadar station is the only railway station common to both the Central and Western lines. This makes the station a transit point for thousands of passengers using the Mumbai Suburban Railway and one of the most crowded railway stations on the network. Travelers tend to regard time spent in Mumbai as a rite of passage to be survived rather than savoured. But as the powerhouse of Indian business, industry and trade, and the source of its most seductive media images, the Maharashtran capital can be a compelling place to spend time. Whether or not you find the experience enjoyable, however, will depend largely on how well you handle the heat, humidity, traffic fumes and relentless crowds of India's most dynamic and westernized city.
In this picture an Indian woman is walking in a green sari in Mumbai, India. The sari is pleated into place without the need for pins or buttons. Worn with the sari is the choli, which is a tight-fitting blouse a a drawstring petticoat. The palloo is that part of the sari draped over the shoulder. Also widely worn by women is the salwar kameez, a tradional dresslike tunic and trouser combination accompanied by a dupatta, which is a long scarf.
First impressions of the city
First impressions of Mumbai tend to be dominated by its chronic shortage of space. Crammed onto a narrow spit of land that curls from the swamp-ridden coast into the Arabian Sea, the city is technically an island, connected to the mainland by bridges and narrow causeways. In less than five hundred years, it has metamorphosed from an aboriginal fishing settlement into a megalopolis of more than sixteen million people, India's largest city and one of the biggest urban sprawls on the planet. Being swept along broad boulevards by endless streams of commuters, or jostled by coolies and hand-cart pullers in the teeming bazaars, you will continually feel as if Mumbai is about to burst at the seams. That so much of India's past remains discernible today is all the more astonishing given the pace of change since Independence in 1947. Spurred by the free-market reforms of the early 1990s, the economic revolution started by Rajiv Gandhi has transformed the country with new consumer goods, technologies and ways of life. Today the land where the Buddha lived and taught, and whose religious festivals are as old as the rivers that sustain them. However, the presence in even the most far-flung market towns of internet cafés, smart phones and Tata Nano cars has thrown into sharp relief the problems that have bedevilled India since long before it became the world's largest secular democracy.
Traditional attire for men includes the dhoti and in the south the lungi and the mundu are also commonly worn. The dhoti is a loose garment pulled up between the legs like a long loincloth. The lungi is more like a sarong, with its end usually sewn up like a tube, where the mundu is like a lungi but is always white. In a street this Indian man was pictured during his work with marigold flowers in Mumbai, India.
India pictures from Mumbai
The roots of the population problem and attendant poverty lie, paradoxically, in the city's enduring ability to create wealth. Mumbai alone generates one third of India's tax income, its port handles half the country's foreign trade, and its movie industry is the most prolific in the world. Symbols of prosperity are everywhere: from the phalanx of office blocks clustered on Nariman Point, Maharashtra's Manhattan, to the expensively dressed teenagers posing in Colaba's trendiest nightspots. The flip side to the success story is the city's much-chronicled poverty. Each day, an estimated five hundred economic refugees pour into Mumbai from the Maharashtran hinterland. Some find jobs and secure accommodation, many more end up living on the already overcrowded streets, or amid the squalor of some of Asia's largest slums, reduced to rag-picking and begging from cars at traffic lights. However, while it would definitely be misleading to downplay its difficulties, Mumbai is far from the ordeal some travelers make it out to be. Once you’ve overcome the major hurdle of finding somewhere to stay, you may begin to enjoy its frenzied pace and crowded, cosmopolitan feel. Dadar vegetable market was the heart of the city and was responsible for distributing vegetables across all of Mumbai. It is said that one can get all possible things in Dadar. It is also famous for its underworld. Dadar is home to the famous Shivaji Park, a huge playground that has been home to some of the best cricket players in the world, including Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. The Shivaji Park Residential area, a predominantly upper middle class residential zone, has also become a highly sought after residential area in Central Mumbai because of its proximity to the Dadar Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, Mahatma Gandhi Olympic Swimming Pool and the famous Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi. One of the largest primary and secondary schools in Mumbai, run by the Indian Education Society and also Balmohan Vidyamandir is located in Dadar.
Although the Indian economy has grown steadily over the last two decades, its growth has been uneven when comparing social groups, economic groups, geographic regions and rural and urban areas. Picturing the poverty in India has been of interest of the photographer over the years.
Picturing the poverty in India
Poverty remains a harsh fact of life for around forty percent of India's inhabitants. No other nation on earth has slum settlements on the scale of those in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, nor so many malnourished children, uneducated women and homes without access to clean water and waste disposal. "- Many first-time visitors find themselves unable to see past such glaring disparities. Others come expecting a timeless ascetic wonderland and are surprised to encounter one of the most materialistic societies on the planet. Still more find themselves intimidated by what may seem, initially, an incomprehensible and bewildering continent", the photographer explains. But for all its jarring juxtapositions, intractable paradoxes and frustrations, India remains an utterly compelling destination. Intricate and worn, its distinctive patina, the stream of life in its crowded bazaars, the ubiquitous filmi music, the pungent melange of diesel fumes, cooking spices, dust and dung smoke, casts a spell that few forget from the moment they step off a plane. Love it or hate it and most travelers oscillate between the two, where India will shift the way you see the world.
Pictures of people are read with purpose and intensity. We search them for clues through, which we might know the experiences and conditions of the persons shown and perhaps draw conclusions from them about ourselves. The pictures can depict the lives of others concerns that are universal and comment to the human condition.
Pictures of Prabhadevi and its people
In the 16th century, the area was known as lower Mahim as it was located on the island of Mahim, one of the Seven islands of Mumbai which, after Mumbai Island proper, was the most important during the whole of the Portuguese period. The Portuguese Franciscans built a church here in 1596 called Nossa Senhora de Salvação, which is popularly known today as Portuguese Church and is a familiar Dadar landmark. Dadar is a prominent railway terminus in the city of Mumbai and offers various trains for passenger transport. There are two stations, one of the western railway, Churchgate - Dahanu Road and other for the central railway Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus-Kasara and Khopoli. Both stations are major interchanges. As of now, Dadar station receives more than 500,000 visitors daily. Prabhadevi is a small up-scale southern neighborhood of Mumbai, situated between the Shivaji Park Residential Zone to the north and Worli to the south and the Arabian Sea to the west. It is a thriving residential district with high-rise buildings built in recent years such as Beaumonde, Sumer Trinity Towers, and Inder Tower and sneha sagar. A major landmark is the Siddhivinayak Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, which attracts hundreds of devotees everyday, Tuesday being the main day of prayer. Prabhanagar is a cosy warm group of residences one of the early settlements in Prabhadevi.
Fascinated by India in every picture
The photographer had been a keen amateur photographer for many years. However, he had a long-held ambition to travel more and had enjoyed photography, and especially travel photography. Travel pictures can be the most memorable pictures and travel photography is one of the most popular activities for those who travel, and also for Kristian Bertel. Once visiting India for the first time he was fascinated by this startlingly beautiful country from the beginning. He is a freelance photographer who has been traveling in several provinces of India taking travel pictures with a humanitarian eye and he is regular travel blogger with his India pictures and you can write to him here:
Contact the photographer
More pics from India
If you are interested to se more pictures from India you can visit the photographer's website and see many colorful slideshows from India.
See the slideshow | press here