Originally Posted by helenhill
I just got a tad ticked with 'Wouter' coming down a bit Heavy on the OP...
That's right, and I apologize to the OP for having hijacked his thread to make a point that goes beyond his pictures.
Now, I have come to the conclusion that I have been ethnocentric in my statements, yes. I failed to take into consideration that this community probably has a buddhist background, which might lead them to experience harmony and satisfaction even in adverse conditions. I have looked at this context with a vision biased towards latinamerican reality.
But I still see harsh conditions and poverty in the pictures. It is the photographer's choice to build on that, or not, in composition and the 'various layers of meaning' and the fact that the OP has not done this cannot be used as an element of critique. We can only say "I would have taken different pictures". My representation of this village life would have been different, but the OP's interpretation doesn't lose beauty, relevance or value with that.
Just a word on harmony and simplicity so often thought to be found in subsistence (family) agriculture communities. I have never visited one community based on subsistence agriculture that was in peace and harmony - I have visited a lot, mainly here in south america, but in Bangladesh and Africa as well. The rythm of life and cultural codes are different, but behind what seems like a harmonious community often lies a reality marked by lack of education options, lack of medical care, poor housing conditions, invisibility to government policy and institutions, an extremely heavy workload mainly for women and a high incidence of domestic violence. As outside pressure increases (by market forces or adverse government policies) these vulnerabilities tend to increase and the villagers have little to defend themselves, as their equilibrium of subsistence/survival is very precarious.
Now I should start posting more pics to sustain my point of view, right ?
Cheers to all.