Reconsidering the Places We Live
“The Places We Live” explores the everyday lives of nearly 1 billion dwellers living in our cities’ slums. The project includes a stunning photography book (published by Aperture), an exhibit at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, and an interactive and immersive online site that highlights the four slums featured in the book, and the real people that have made their lives there. The site captures the essence of each city through beautiful panoramic shots, and the dwellers in each city are brought to life through intimate portraits and photos of their homes and neighborhoods as well as translated audio interviews.
From the book’s Editor’s note:
The year 2008 has witnessed a major shift in the way people across the world live: for the first time in human history more people live in cities than in rural areas. This triumph of the urban, however, does not entirely represent progress, as the number of people living in urban slums—often in abject conditions—will soon exceed one billion. From 2005 to 2007 Jonas Bendiksen documented life in the slums of four different cities: Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Caracas, Venezuela. His lyrical images capture the diversity of personal histories and outlooks found in these dense neighborhoods that, despite commonly held assumptions, are not simply places of poverty and misery. Yet, slum residents continuously face enormous challenges, such as the lack of health care, sanitation, and electricity. The Places We Live includes twenty double-gatefold images, each representing an individual home and its denizen’s story. Through its innovative design and experiential approach, The Places We Live brings the modern-day Dickensian reality of these individuals into sharp focus.