Here's the work of a photographer who, by any definition, is the pride of this profession; Fazal Sheikh not only makes pictures, he presents us an unblinking, but immensely compassionate view of the poor and disenfranchised...he doesn't only photograph, but interviews his subjects about their lives, he adds his own commentary on the people, their country, and the situation in which he finds them.
Fazal Sheikh went to Vrindavan, "where he began to grasp the full extent to which women in India are the victims of religious and cultural codes that reduce many of them to little more than child-rearing servants. He returned to India to find out more from young women growing up in a society that, whatever economic advances it may boast, is still widely prejudiced against them."
As I have made it clear through my photography and through this blog, I'm an Indiaphile, however India's treatment of women has marred my deep affection for this country. On one hand, many women in India have reached heights that few women in the United States have, but on the other I (like Fazal) have seen the shameful treatment of widows in the ashrams of Vrindavan and Varanasi.
Fazal Sheikh's 'Ladli' is not a gallery of portraits to be looked at quickly and superficially. No, this is work that grasps us by the throat, and fills our hearts with compassion for those portrayed in such dire conditions.
Here's Ladli .