A Visual Diary on National Geographic – On April 1, I…

Nat Geo Assignment: A Visual Diary: On April 1, I... - Kristian Bertel
India beggar portrait is submitted to ‘A Visual Diary: On April 1 2019, I…’ on Nat Geo.


Nat Geo Assignment: A Visual Diary: On April 1, I... - Kristian Bertel
Nashik beggar in India is also submitted to ‘A Visual Diary: On April 1 2019, I…’ on Nat Geo.



See the National Geographic photo assignments that Kristian Bertel has participated in – Read the story about his photographs here…

Kristian Bertel has contributed to the National Geographic Your Shot community with an assignment called ‘A Visual Diary: On April 1 2019, I…’. Curated by David Y. Lee, a producer at Nat Geo Your Shot, he wants to see photos that are captured on April 1st. Whether we are professionals or amateurs, these assignments requires us to submit new photos. These assignments reset the playing field for every participating community member and give everyone a new chance to receive feedback and be published.

The images selected for the final story will have wowed us with their composition, and with their compelling captions. Photos that for this Your Shot assignment is simple to share our best photos taken during that day.

How to become a better photographer
As David is saying it: ”- Not every photo you take is going to be from an epic situation or from the trip that changed your life. Photography is about finding the light, observing the lines, textures, and patterns, and anticipating the moments—whether by chasing them or documenting the everyday ones. The only way to get better as a photographer is to keep taking pictures, and this assignment is part of a larger initiative encouraging you to make new photos”, he says.

Portraits of beggars in India
Being poor or even homeless is nowhere to be found, but if there is one country that is terribly handling its poor, that is India and the city of Nashik seems however to be more cozy than Delhi. A small consolation is that you are never alone in India and on every street corner, ragged beggars sit and in front of every major train station, you will see families with children covered in flies.


”Whether or not you should give beggars in India or not depends on the situation. In a tourist environment, you are more likely to cause damage. You should never give anything to children, otherwise they may beg instead of go to school – a vicious circle”


Begging seems almost a normal and extremely lousy job in India
Many travelers who come to India for the first time hardly endure the misery. But the longer you stay, the less you see. The many Indian millionaires have probably not seen any poor for years, if not consciously.

The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi probably did not pay attention to the underclass in this currency reform, otherwise it would have been different. For the poor, the shortage of cash is hardest due to a lack of alternatives and several deaths have already been reported because no 500s and 1000s were accepted in the hospital.

The Indian nightmare is even worse than the Danish one. Not only in this life you are guilty of what happened to you, but also in the next. Even your birth is a direct result of the amount of karma you have accumulated in your last life. Who is in the gutter in the last life was a bad person and deserves it.

Whoever lies in the gutter and gets along well can gather karma for the next life and with such merciless fatalism, of course, there is not much room for pity.

Caste system in India
The still very strong caste system also almost eliminates social mobility. By last name you can recognize the caste membership in India and as Untouchables you have little to no training and job opportunities. You stay where your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were. As a woman you have it even harder and woe you become a widow or old without enough children. Criticizing the caste system has in the past been a reason for the emergence of Sikhism and several Hindu reform attempts.

That did not help much. In India everything is still like in the Middle Ages. At least in large cities, the caste is slowly playing a minor role and the Indians on the street are not as easy as the photographer. Escaping poverty seems not only difficult, but impossible. When you live from hand to mouth, your planning horizon does not go beyond the next meal and if you do not know any other life, what do you want to change?


”Life is unfair and these people have never had a reasonably fair chance. If you were born in their place in India, you would still be in their stead today in the gutter”


All of us who read this text have won the birth lottery, along with about 1 billion other people. That means we do not have to fight with dogs for food left over during our lifetime and the more we say goodbye to the idea that we have earned our own status, the sooner we can feel sorry for the remaining six billion who have been less fortunate. Of course, there is an average correlation between performance and earnings.

Beggars in India: giving, helping or donating money?
India may even make you an altruist, but you have to decide that for yourself. With your trip, you definitely help the Indian economy, especially as a traveler, local consumption instead of import.

Basically it is better to donate to efficient organizations than to give money to beggars or volunteerism and there is a well-researched list at Give Well. If you want to donate to India, look at Give India.

”- Beggary is a state of extreme poverty and too many people are homeless and living in shameful beggary in this country. When I came to India for the first time, I suddenly understood the impulse to give up everything at home to help people here. Still, volunteering with your photography is not a good idea and the idea of ​​helping with your own hands is nothing more than an ego trip as a result of a White Savior complex”, Kristian Bertel says.


    You might also like:

Assignments and Stories — National Geographic Your Shot »
My Best Photos of February 2019 – National Geographic »
Your Shot Photo Community — National Geographic »
Kristian Bertel’s entire gallery on Your Shot »
Showcase of Kristian Bertel’s Your Shot »
Kristian Bertel’s website »


    Tags:   #india   #travel   #portraits