a perspective on poverty

it rained all day today. so when i was faced with the question, “hot or cold soba noodles?” guess which i chose…

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Came across this New York Times article from last month on Shehab Uddin’s journey and heartfelt approach to documenting poverty in his home country.

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“When photographers visit a country like Bangladesh we don’t bother to ask permission from the people we want to photograph,” Mr. Uddin said. “We have the power, with thousands of dollars of gear, nice clothes and a good education, and we think we have every right to photograph.”

Mr. Uddin not only asked permission to photograph poor people. He also moved in with several families and later had them help select the images that he would exhibit in their neighborhoods.

Mr. Uddin believes that Western media and nongovernmental organizations too often wrongly portray impoverished people as monolithic. That approach may evoke sympathy and open wallets. But he said they also need more: social support and education.

“Though all three families are very poor, these families are not always unhappy — they have love and they enjoy their life,” he said. “Poverty is not only about sadness, not only about sorrow, not only about depression. They are people like us.”

*images by Shehab Uddin

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closing with a few words from William Martin:

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

Comment 1

  1. Kristan March 31, 2015 9:12 pm

    Re: the poem – Interestingly, that’s the debate I always have with myself. Do I parent that way (a la the poem’s philosophy) or do I go the Tiger Mom route? I think in the end I’ll strive for a balance, because I think there are pros and cons to each. (But of course, it could all change once I’m actually doing it, lol. Who knows.)

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