Jonas Bendiksen . The Places We Live
The earth’s population is growing exponentially, and urbanization is occurring at high speed. Since 2008, for the first time ever, more of the people on this planet are living in cities than in the country. One-third of the urban population—that is, more than a billion people—live densely packed into the confines of poor neighborhoods on the outskirts of megacities. The slums, shantytowns, and favelas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are the fastest-growing residential areas in the world—with simple dwellings constructed out of corrugated sheet metal, cardboard boxes, and plywood: a wildly overgrown and untamed microcosm. But what exactly does it mean to live in these enclaves of poverty? How do people adapt to life in a state of permanent crisis? What are their everyday lives like?
Between 2005 and 2007, Jonas Bendiksen photographed people living in the slums of Nairobi, Jakarta, Caracas and Mumbai in their tiny private spheres and also recorded their personal histories. With his unique closeups, the Norwegian Magnum photographer breaks with the stereotypical images of slums and their residents. He shows not just poverty, garbage, hunger, sickness, and violence, but also signs of hope—lovingly decorated huts, generous hospitality, neighborhood aid, and social solidarity.