Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Shortlist
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EPF 2013 shortlist
Where We Live Matters
We often perceive slums as dark dens of poverty and despair, where juvenile delinquents, and squatters wander aimlessly amongst makeshift structures. We draw a clear distinction between the slum dwellers and ourselves: they are the “other”. In 2007, for the first time in history, the world’s population was more urban than rural. Of this urban swell, one out three one billion people around the world lives in a slum. Urban development now appears to be synonymous with the growth in urban poverty.”Where we live matters” is the story of the residents of the Paga Hill slum in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea, in which 45 percent of the population lives in slum neighborhoods. On 12 May 2012, one hundred police officers descended on the Paga Hill slum with the aim of driving out its residents. This forced eviction was carried out to make room for a residential development project overlooking Port Moresby bay. The attempted eviction constituted a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights, including the right to adequate housing. By the time the evictions were brought to a halt through the intervention of the PNG opposition Leader Dame Carol Kidu, twenty-one families stood homeless. The images presented in this project seek to put human faces on Paga Hill’s residents, telling their stories rather than leaving them relegated to statistics, stigma and prejudice. Our place of residence dictates whether or not we have access to basic services, whether or not we are employable; if we are even fully human in society’s eyes. This project aims to challenge the viewer’s perception of slum dwellers and to highlight the critical truth that, irrespective of a person’s place of residence, all people have the same basic needs, hopes and fears.
Philippe Schneider was born in France in May, 1967. After dabbling in student activism whilst completing a Bachelor of Arts and Communication at university, Philippe found his calling as a Humanitarian Aid Worker. He has been exposed to the spectrum of human existence whilst working in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Darfur. Philippe believes that the commentary of human experience can ideally be shared through the medium of photography and strives to create work that informs the social conscience.