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Trailing migrant labourers

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TALE OF SURVIVAL A photograph by Sebastien Gaudard
TALE OF SURVIVAL A photograph by Sebastien Gaudard

Sebastien Gaudard zooms into the lives of migrant labourers

At first they seem like a random set of photographs. But upon closer perusal, they tell a tale. A grim one of struggle and survival. Sebastien Gaudard, a professional photographer, has been following migrant labourers from Andhra Pradesh for a month. His photographs encapsulate the life of the labourers and their efforts to eke out a livelihood. Work, when they manage to find it, is often at quarries, roads and building sites. Both men and women are breadwinners and women have the added role of homemaker. As work is hard to come by, most wait by the roads hoping someone offers them a job. A picture captures a man taking a smoke while another has both men and women seated on a pavement, miserably waiting.As both parents head off to work, children accompany their parents to the work sites. Gaudard's photo at a quarry shows a young child crying as the adults work under the watchful eyes of the Maistri.

Eloquent photos

His colour photographs eloquently capture the irony of life. As the labourers work hard on building high-rises, what they call home is a workers' camp with tents and thatched huts; a slum. The shot from above captures the misery of life in the camp. Home is often three to four families cramped in a tiny hut. Despite struggling to make a living, the spirit in which these group of people face life is admirable. The picture `Face conditioned by life,' says it all; a weather-beaten face of an old man with a smile. Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum in association with the Embassy of France has organised the exhibition. It is on till June 12. LIZA GEORGE

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