Winner Of W. Eugene Smith Award 1991
Street children of Bombay
This documentary chronicles the day-to-day existence of street children in Bombay. Their lives are excruciatingly difficult, plagued by the expoitation and indifference of adults. Most of them are runaways or orphans, and they will do virtually anything to eke a living, from scavenging or stealing to selling drugs or their own bodies. In spite of this grim shadow which looms over their lives, they find time and energy for games and laughter. Dario Mitidieri’s exceptional photographs capture the indomitable spirit of these forgotten children, revealing a courage and resilience which would put most adults to shame. A powerful and moving project.
Dario Mitidieri, an Italian photojournalist living in London, was awarded the grant for a long-term project to document the street children of Bombay, India, whose number has been estimated to be 100,000. By photographing his subjects’ unique way of life from their own “Kaleidoscopic” point of view, he hopes to create a metaphor for neglected and “too easily forgotten” children the world over.
Dario Mitidieri was born in 1959 in Villa d’Agri, Italy. In 1981, he moved to London and studied photojournalism at the London College of Printing. He started work as a freelance photographer in 1986 for The Independent Magazine and The Sunday Telegraph. Since then, his work has been published in numerous photographic books, including Children of Bombay, published in six languages; L’Ultimo Ayrton, capturing Ayrton Senna’s last Grand Prix race in Italy; and People and Railways, about Italy’s railway industry. Mitidieri also contributes regularly to collective photography books, and his images have been exhibited worldwide.
In 1989, Mitidieri won Press Photographer of the Year at the British Press Awards as one of the few photographers to cover the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. He was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography in 1991, which allowed him to spend the following year in Bombay documenting the lives of street children. The finished project received international recognition with many awards, including the European Publishers Award for Photography, Premio Periodista La Nation and the Visa d’Or at the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France.
Mitidieri’s other awards include the Nikon Photo Essay of the Year from the 1996 Nikon Press Awards, the Leica — CFP Photo Award in 1998 and the European Publishers Award for Photography in 1994. In 2004, World Press Photo awarded Mitidieri Third Place in the General News Story for his photographs of the mass graves of Iraq.