FOCUS LIFE – Education through Photographs

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“Since ages mankind has been fascinated by storytellers and their tales. The stories that were told in a way that they deeply touched people’s hearts and minds, eventually not only made history, but also had and still have to power to change the way people think, people act. My demand on my work is to be a part of these stories. “

The lecture cum education program “FOCUS LIFE – Education through Photographs” will be held in educational facilities and culture forums during my Germany visit from mid-June to mid-July. This program seeks to break the barriers of the traditional photography and is one of my approaches to explore new ways of storytelling, new ways of trying to make a change.

Besides the education program, I will exhibit a photographic summary of the last five years of my photographic work in India. This exhibition at the Saxon State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, Dresden ( from 02.07.2012 till 30.08.2012) will be the official start of the first “FOCUS LIFE – Education through Photographs” tour.

The exhibition was made possible with the friendly support of the Saxon State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs and LarsNeumann.Fotografie, Dresden.

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FOCUS LIFE - Education Through Photographs
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Written by Enrico Fabian

June 20th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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Preview “Phas Gaya – Being Stuck”

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“Since my mother died everything has changed to the worse. If it wasn’t for my two small children, I would have committed suicide a long time ago. This damn medicine…”, told me Fakir, crying about his loss and life, sitting lonely in his small room of the family’s house. The plastic tube which entangled his arm tight, making the injecting easier for him, seemed like an allegory for his life, a life in stagnation, being stuck – Phas Gaya.

Fakir, now 29 years old, went to a few rehabs from 2002 onwards, back then for being addicted to smoking heroin and still with the support of his mother trying to change her youngest son’s life to better. She died 6 years ago and left a vacuum in Fakir’s life, only worsened by family disputes regarding the inheritance and his continuing heroin addiction. Later on, as the heroin became more expensive and the quality worsened, he got introduced to something new: pharmaceuticals.
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After working on “Death for 50 Rupees” I continued focusing on the issue of pharmaceutical abuse and its consequences.
The seen photographs are a brief preview of  this still ongoing project that had been made possible by the generously grant received from the Chris Hondros Fund.

The full story will be released in a few weeks.
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Written by Enrico Fabian

March 30th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

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Thank YOU that YOU cared…

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I just wanted to give a Big Thank You to everyone who could spare some clothes for the homeless drug addicts of Jahangirpuri. At the end 52 packages each including a thick and a thin trouser or jeans, a t-shirt, a pullover and a shirt, were distributed. Some of them also included small extras like a shawl or gloves.

To ensure that the “right” people received these packages I went out with a group of outreach workers from the NGO Sharan whom I know since working in this area. Alongside them we handed the packages over to many familiar faces with the hope of making their nights a bit easier for them.

So again, thank YOU for your support and the contribution you gave and even more just for the fact that YOU cared for it.

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Death for 50 Rupees
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Written by Enrico Fabian

February 16th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

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Can You Spare a Little Comfort?

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Even if the temperatures in Delhi get slowly comfortable throughout daytime, at night it is still a different circumstance that especially people sleeping in the open have to face. Without basic shelter or even warm cloth, temperatures beneath 10 degrees Celsius can be life-threatening.

Most of the people whom I spend my time with while documenting the consequences of pharmaceutical abuse in the outskirts of Delhi are the ones who have to fight this fight against the biting cold, night by night.

After coming back from Germany a few days ago I distributed around 20 kilos of jeans and sweaters that I brought with me from my home. Obviously these clothes could provide a little comfort only to a handful of people.
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Death for 50 Rupees
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For this reason I am asking all the people from in and around Delhi to have a closer look into your wardrobe too! Do you really still need all of these things in there? Are you able to spare some jeans, shirts, pullovers, shoes, shawls, caps, gloves…mostly menswear and childrenswear ?
I think you all are…

If you think so too please contact me via email or phone and we figure out a time and a place of how we can arrange the handover of the clothes you want to donate to the homeless of Jahangirpuri.

Depending a bit on the result of my request made to you I have scheduled this Sunday as the first day to donate the received clothes to the people concerned.
I look forward for your support in this cause and would like to say thank you in advance…in the name of the homeless of Jahangirpuri.
For any questions regarding the donation mission please do not hesitate to contact me.

With best wishes and a lot of hope,
Enrico Fabian

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Written by Enrico Fabian

January 16th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

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Untouched Untouchability – The Balmiki of Arrah

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How can you define yourself being a worthy member of society? How does society determine whether you are a worthy part of it? What if the final judgment has already been spoken, based on what others have been taught about your kinds of people since generations. What if this judgment sticks to you for your whole life, influencing virtually every aspect of it?

The Indian caste system and with it “Untouchability”, stigmatizing millions of people, pushing them to the brink of society, leaving them poor, uneducated and with little or no representation was officially abolished in 1950. By then, even within the lowest layer of society,  diversifications based on occupation had developed; Balmiki, Dom, Mehater, people manually cleaning latrines and toilets, outcasts among outcasts; Mahadalit.

Many things have undergone a positive development in India but still, being born into the lowest sub- caste of the Dalits will usually define your position in society, your whole life. Especially in the country’s rural areas, where the lack of basic education and social awareness correlates with low income and decaying housing structures, not much has changed for decades. In a village and a nearby by town in the state Bihar, the invisible chains restraining the Balmiki remain unbroken and their burden weighs as heavy as ever before.

Their daily work consists of the manual removal of human feces from pit and bucket toilets, which were forbidden by law many years ago in a government effort to improve India’s sanitary facilities. Yet, these toilets are still prevailing. The pits or buckets are usually hard to reach, and the stench of the feces which accumulates over several months before the pit needs to be emptied, is overwhelming. Nevertheless, the workers’ job is to empty the pits or buckets by hand and fill them in edible oil canisters.  Later they will carry these up to 16kg heavy canisters on top of their heads or on their shoulders to the village outskirts where the feces are simply dumped into the open fields or existing drains.

Besides the physiological problems like skin diseases, diarrhea, respiratory system infections, insect bites and even infestation through larvae, the psychological impact is hard to comprehend for an outsider. Doing the worst work possible, facing gestures and actions of disgust and objection everywhere, not only at work, being often underpaid and in rare cases not paid at all and having to deal with all these issues day in day out for the rest of their life is something no person on earth should have to endure. Because of this mistreatment by society, the abuse of alcohol and drugs amongst both, male and female workers, is quite common.

Their children, already collecting resalable refuse from the town to create a small but much needed additional income, will sooner or later face the same fate as their parents. Being born into the sub caste of Balmiki leaves them with almost no choice. Even if their parents would somehow manage to save the dowry for their daughter’s wedding they still could only marry amongst their caste. Any appeal or attempt to break this vicious circle can be life-threatening and hate crimes convicted by members of higher castes are not uncommon.

In India only a few organizations put in any effort to support the Balmiki, and for many of those who do, it’s a fight against windmills. The suffering of these people can not only be solved by improving the sanitary facilities in villages and cities. A sense of understanding, awareness and compassion must eventually lead to the eradication of an antiquated way of thinking which is still prevailing in the minds of the larger society. These are the major keys that could unlock a new way of life, a new place in society, a new world, for the Balmiki of India.
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Written by Enrico Fabian

June 10th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

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Death for 50 Rupees

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“I smoked heroin for a long, long time but since two years I only inject. It’s cheaper and somehow the same”, said Darminder, his clothes and body marked by an endless seeming life on the street, his eyes sad and tired by years of constant pharmaceutical drug abuse. A few hours later the 17-year-old boy from Bihar was dead. In an argument about money for more drugs he was brutally beaten by false friends and was left to die in a dirty alley next to a waste picker colony. The police later had him dumped at the local hospital’s morgue and he, as many others, disappeared far before his time. Eventually Darminder became a victim of a medicine actually produced for a different purpose; to ease pain, to heal, to help people.

While worldwide the numbers of heroin users is constantly increasing, another even much more disturbing form of drug abuse is growing steadily yet largely unrecognized. Pharmaceuticals, especially opium derivatives, meant for a totally different clientele are on their rise to dominate the drug market in 3rd world- and threshold countries. Either the medicine is copied from the original product and reproduced in underground labs or dubious agents of certain pharmacy companies strike deals they were never supposed to. At the end the offered product is meant for one purpose only, to earn money through the users’ addiction.

In the India of the 21st century this kind of drug abuse has become a disturbing phenomenon and has lead and still leads to catastrophic consequences. While the homeless people of every age tranquilize their daily struggle other clients have entered the stage a long time ago: from simple day laborers earning a small living for their families while working at the nearby, gigantic, vegetable and fruit wholesale market, to municipal employees easing their responsibilities in the job with a little injection here and there. What was once unimaginable, especially in a life full of social and religious responsibility, has become a sad reality.

The choice of drugs available is vast and offers everything, for everybody, for every circumstance of life. Purchasing these drugs is as easy as buying cough syrup at the supermarket and one just has to pass by at one of the many pharmacies spread all over the big cities and small villages to purchase whatever one feels like. The medicine, not supposed to be given to anyone without prescription from a doctor, is sold for a price even the poor can afford. An ampule Buprenorphine (a semi-synthetic opioid actually used to treat opioid addiction), an ampule Diazepam (a benzodiazepine derivative drug also known as Valium), an ampule Avil (a antihistamine which lessens the side effects of the two other drugs) and two disposable syringes are sold for 50 Rupees, a little less than 1 USD. Depending on the customer’s relation to the pharmacy owner, an additional strong antidepressant tablet or extra morphine is handed out for free.

The consequences of this irresponsible, shameless business dealing with people’s lives and fate are devastating. Faces, once full of enthusiasm and vitality slowly turn into lifeless masks trying to hide their unquenchable need for more and more and more. Bodies once full of power and strength become only a hull carrying blood borne diseases like AIDS, caused by the exchange of needles. Loosing ones job, families or children are only a few examples out of a chain of actions being as long as terrifying.

Besides all these difficulties they face in their everyday lives, or even because of them, the level of constant psychological and physical violence is very high. Especially for the rising number of drug abusing children and teenagers, the situation is as bad as it could get. The alliances between them and the older, more experienced users result in twisted friendships based on their addiction. Although the kids can rely on a certain protection by the older ones, at the same time they are constantly endangered to be misused in any way imaginable.

The addicts’ minds are so much occupied by their addiction that they barely recognize the destructive exploitation of their bodies and minds. Their daily habit is essential to them – even though it already destroyed their former lives.

Amongst all the people trapped in this vicious circle of poverty, addiction, violence and lost dreams, 17 year old Darminder’s life took a very wrong turn. Like that of many others before him…and like that of many more to come.
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To get another insight into the story please have a look at the following link provided by THE CARAVAN, India
http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/819/The-Needle-and-the-Damage-Done.html
written by: Dave Besseling

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Written by Enrico Fabian

April 27th, 2011 at 1:16 am

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Death for 50 Rupees – Getting Closer

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From the age of 15 up to 58…
From working government employees to convicted murderers…
From the ones still well of  to the ones struggling day in day out to stay alive…

These people seeming to be so different share something…
They share a past of constant abuse of alcohol, dilution, weed and heroin…
They share a presence in which new drugs took control over their life…
Drugs which are cheap, effective and constantly available…

Semi-synthetic opioids
Benzodiazepine derivatives…
Antihistamine…

Pharmaceutical drugs only available on prescription, officially…

They have a different story to tell…
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Written by Enrico Fabian

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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Death for 50 Rupees – Opener

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Wasim, Balbir, Jeetu, Saud, Vishal, Kalu, Bantu, Dinesh and Amrit…
All these persons, all these faces are a symbol for something hard to imagine…
Something that happens every day on the outskirts of the centre of Delhi…

Far off from the fancy stores of India’s capital another kind of business is done…
A business not only highly illegal but also a business playing with other people’s lives…
The ones making a loss in this trade are the clients…
A loss that cannot be repaid…
A loss that cannot be undone…

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During the next days I will continue telling their stories of living a life on the edge, and beyond…

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Written by Enrico Fabian

March 18th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

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A Glimpse of Daily Life – Srinagar…

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Since the end of the British colonial rule in 1947, and the following first territorial war between India and
Pakistan ending in 1949, the civilians of Kashmir live under constant tension. For decades different groups,
following their political aims, were and are responsible for a countless number of forcible occupations or
burning of private property, house raids, fake encounters, unnecessary detentions and many other kinds of
physical or psychological abuse, of men and women, of young and old.

Not much has changed since 1947…

The following photographs are part of a long term project…
Not only for the photographer but sadly so also for the inhabitants of Kashmir…
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Written by Enrico Fabian

September 28th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Little Wolf’s Big Dream…

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All over the world people have wishes, hopes, dreams…
Sometimes they allow you to dream alongside with them for a little while…
And after short time you begin to understand why they do what they do…
Why they have this dream…
And why it is so important for them…

Watch the video presentation…
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Get the Flash Player to see this player.
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Or the single photographs…
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Little Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big DreamLittle Wolf's Big Dream
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Additional video material and further background information will be published soon…

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Written by Enrico Fabian

August 24th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

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