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World Press Photo row: Italian photographer slammed for controversial hunger and poverty in India's photo series; apologizes

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 25 July 2018, 15:56 IST

Italian photographer, Alessio Mamo whose photo series “Dreaming Food” on hunger and poverty in India has triggered a massive outrage on it. A series of Photos highlighting hunger in India was shared on the Instagram handle of World Press Photo. It was slammed for the way poor people were portrayed in India.

Mamo's photo series on poverty and hunger in India shows visibly malnourished people standing in front of a lavish food, their hands covering their faces. In the Instagram post, Mamo said that he had “brought...a table and some fake food, and...told people to dream about some food that they would like to find on their table.”

The pictures that show children standing in front of fake foods and covering their eyes has been widely surfaced on the social media platform after the World Press Photo Foundation shared them on Instagram.

The World Press Photo shared it on its Instagram handle, captioned it,“These photographs are from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh two of the poorest states of India. From the series "Dreaming Food", a conceptual project about hunger issue in India.

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Mamo, who had won a World Press Photo of the Year Award this year, had been handling the foundation’s Instagram account for a week. He has apologized on the series for hurting sentiments of anyone.

In his statement, Mamo said that the idea was to highlight the wastage of food in the West. “The only goal of the concept was to let western people think, in a provocative way, about the waste of food,” he said. “Maybe it did not work at all, maybe I did it in the wrong way, but I worked honestly and respectfully with all the people involved. I only had the intention to let people think about this issue.”

He added, “I’m a human being and I can make mistakes. I want to offer my deepest apologies to anyone who felt offended and hurt by this photos, and to the people I photographed. It was not my intention at all to discredit them. I’m in love with India and with the people. I’m always open to being criticised in my work, but I have never in my life felt hate like the comments directed at me in recent days.”

People criticizing the photo series said, "This is extremely insensitive. There are better ways to raise awareness than to try and snatch dignity away from people," Instagram user said in a post. "A little empathy would go a long way. Poor people are not props."


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First published: 25 July 2018, 15:53 IST