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Arts & Culture

The Places We Live

Bendiksen's book charts two years of photographing and speaking to the inhabitants of some of the world's most infamous slums

Jonas Bendiksen

Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live The facade of an apartment building in Barrio 23 de Enero. The areas apartment blocks have been home to communities of squatters since the late 1950s, and the area has played an important role in s (...)

The year 2008 witnessed a major shift in the way people across the world live: for the first time in human history more people lived in cities than in rural areas. This triumph of the urban, however, does not entirely represent progress, as the number of people living in urban slums—often in abject conditions—will soon exceed one billion.

Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live A man looks out of his home under a traffic a bridge into the sewage/storm drain below. Jakarta, Indonesia. 2007. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live A man peeks out of his big warehouse, with Dharavi's biggest mosque, the Moinia Masjid, in the background. Mumbai, India. 2006. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live New squatter settlements on a hillside. Caracus, Venezuela. 2007. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live A girl plays in Laxmi Chawl, a neighborhood of Dharavi. The little lightbulbs are put out for a wedding. Mumbai, India. 2006.Dharavi is one of Mumbai's biggest and longest standing slums. Home (...)

From 2005 to 2007 Jonas Bendiksen documented life in the slums of four different cities: Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Caracas, Venezuela. His lyrical images capture the diversity of personal histories and outlooks found in these dense neighborhoods that, despite commonly held assumptions, are not simply places of poverty and misery. Yet, slum residents continuously face enormous challenges, such as the lack of health care, sanitation, and electricity. Yet, slum residents continuously face enormous challenges, such as the lack of health care, sanitation, and electricity.

Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live Photographic reconstruction of Asanah's house. From left to right: Hari, Sartini, Hasan, Meliani, Asanah. Jakarta, Indonesia. 2007. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

The Places We Live includes twenty double-gatefold images, each representing an individual home and its denizen’s story. Through its innovative design and experiential approach, The Places We Live brings the modern-day Dickensian reality of these individuals into sharp focus.

Jonas Bendiksen | The Places We Live The hillside barrio of El Valle. Caracas is a shaped like a bowl, with poorer barrios circling the affluent and commercial areas, which lie at the valley floor. Caracas, Venezuela. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos