/11 Wealth

Frédéric Delangle

10% growth

This project is a tribute to those without whom India could not nourish itself! They are 15 million small tradesmen (the largest network in the world, 95% of the Indian distribution) who distribute the minimum necessary to the population, even in the most remote villages. These men and women spend between 70-90% of their life in their shop, tiny spaces rarely larger than a prison cell. They always work long hours, starting early in the morning around 7:00am and until 8 or 9:00p.m in the evening. They are mostly open 7 days a week, few of them allowing themselves some days off. They start working as children, to help their parents, and work until the time of their own death because they don’t have any kind of pension. They spend most of their time waiting for a client often standing in the same position. It is this position that I tried to capture by asking them to pose for a few seconds, so that they remain motionless, like statues, thus finding the natural position they adopt during their existence. Like a director, I tried to make them play the role of their lives through the postures they adopt every day. When night falls, their stores are transformed into small theatres of puppets, and the lights begin to twinkle in their stalls, like the limelight after the three shots signalling the beginning of a theatre play. These men and women who are everywhere in India are the fundamental social link between major cities and smaller villages. They dedicate their lives, bodies and souls, their activity to this, while most of them make barely enough to survive. They are one of the reasons why the giants of the big retail business encounter so much difficulty in the Indian market, a huge business for billions of dollars a year. Is there nothing but misery to oppose to these giant groups such as Walmart, Carrefour and all the others who have dehumanized our cities and our rural areas across Europe? Destroying at their passage everything that makes the soul of our cities, forcing people to visit those awful commercial sites, which have predated our landscapes. These shops might be dirty, small, located in the slums at the heart of Indian cities, but they give life to the major urban centres and represent the sole pole of attraction for the smaller villages.