21 Mar 2010 922 views
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photoblog image Kolkata Life

Kolkata Life

Rickshaw drivers live a very difficult life, both in India and elsewhere in the world. Here you can see one taking a break or waiting for work.

For more portraits in this series click here.

Kolkata Life

Rickshaw drivers live a very difficult life, both in India and elsewhere in the world. Here you can see one taking a break or waiting for work.

For more portraits in this series click here.

comments (43)

  • sherri
  • Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America
  • 21 Mar 2010, 01:56
Poor old soul. It's heart wrenching.
wonderful portrait of that man lost in his dreams...
  • spark
  • Australia
  • 21 Mar 2010, 02:53
you have a knack of snapping undetected Charles
so many wonderful lines and textures in this one. i like the black bars separating him from the papers and writing on the wall behind. gives the feeling of having this hard physical work and being cut off from the world of education. i could be wrong though. perhaps just as there are cab drivers here with PhD's it's the same with rickshaw drivers there.
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 21 Mar 2010, 06:16
great portrait Charles, you cant help but feel sorry for him
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 21 Mar 2010, 07:42
He is far far away with his mind.....I kind of feel sorry for him, he seems so lost.
Great portrait.
  • tede
  • France
  • 21 Mar 2010, 07:58
His eyes seemed lost, a business of another time and so difficult. A true marvel this portrait, very emotional. Good Sunday, friends.
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 21 Mar 2010, 07:59
I'm sure it's better than doing nothing, Charles, but it does make you wonder how they make a living. Makes you wonder how long that rickshaw has been in the family...generation after generation?
Charles Dastodd: It could be an old rickshaw, or it might just have been his and not that old. The weather in Kolkata, particularly the monsoon season, has a way of making new things look very old very quickly. So even new construction can look old after a few years. The pollution is also very bad and that contributes to the rapid aging of things as well.
Yes I saw all the levels of rickshaw drivers when I was in Kolkata Charles.
I recently read an article about Delhi's auto rickshaw issues in 'The Guardian' (A British broadsheet) and include a quote from the article itself:

''The Indian capital's streets are notorious for the swarms of green and yellow autorickshaws – and for their surly, betel nut-chewing and overcharging drivers.

But their days may be numbered after Delhi's chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, said she wanted to see the three-wheelers phased out within five years.

Amid uproar in the state assembly, she said that no ban would be imposed "immediately". But Dikshit's comments signalled the likely start of a long campaign to prepare public opinion for the demise of one of the capital's best-known sights.

"Autorickshaws are not a good option. They are uncomfortable and pollute [the] environment. Autorickshaw drivers are unruly and harass passengers," she said.

Food for thought.

Charles Dastodd: That's really interesting, Richard. I did not know about that. Thanks for sharing. smile
Lost in thought. I like this one, specially the light.
  • WIll
  • Japan
  • 21 Mar 2010, 10:04
Brilliant shot, really loving your shots of people in Kolkata going about their daily lives, I hope you can do something with them all like doing an exhibition or something.
Charles Dastodd: Thanks, Will. Much appreciated. Although, I have to say, I wouldn't even know the first thing about how to set something like that up. :p
It looks a hard life too Charles...You captured this moment well.
He looks tired and worn and lost in his thoughts!
What a hard way to have to make a living and then I guess he doesn't earn a fortune.
  • emmeji
  • France
  • 21 Mar 2010, 11:23
He seems so tired !
  • JJ
  • United States
  • 21 Mar 2010, 11:50
Such a touching shot, this guy looks drained and worn down by life
  • Pepe
  • Spain
  • 21 Mar 2010, 11:57
This serie of Kolkata life is fantastic. You've got very nice shots.
A sensitive portrait of a sad situation, Charles.
  • Marie
  • France
  • 21 Mar 2010, 12:13
As per always, you captured a poignant and fantastic moment of the live.. This portrait touching me !
  • Fritsch
  • Germany
  • 21 Mar 2010, 12:28
Brilliant portrait, great composition, Charles! All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.
interesting portrait, wonderful
The romantic might say that he's lost in his dreams, the reality is that he's probably just wishing for a passenger, different life, or job.

And the cool colouring enhances that feeling in your shot. Good one.
  • Elisa
  • Argentina
  • 21 Mar 2010, 14:19
Une image très touchante...
Bon début de saison!
Ici en Argentine, l´automne mais chalereux vient d´arriver...
Absolutely brilliant Charles !
Nice, candid shot, Charles - he looks weary and world-weary, not surprisingly!
  • Marcie
  • United States
  • 21 Mar 2010, 15:40
So powerful and so sad. Such a wonderful and pensive portrait and glimpse into ordinary street life. Excellent!
  • phrenzel
  • United States
  • 21 Mar 2010, 16:29
a real life moment, powerful shot~
  • Frida
  • Sweden
  • 21 Mar 2010, 16:37
He seems to be far away from here in his thoughts. Great capture.
  • Laurence
  • United States
  • 21 Mar 2010, 17:09
Qu'il est expressif ce portrait de cet homme perdu dans ses pensées !
Très joli portrait , tu as bien capté l'expression de son regard perdu dans ces pensées
  • Carlib
  • France
  • 21 Mar 2010, 17:49
Shame! He really looks exhausted!
This is beautiful shot, I like the angle! Some much to see here! He sits between curves and straight lines, very interesting!
You really captured a moment here...one can just see him lost in thought. Great portrait!
  • CherryPie
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 21 Mar 2010, 18:36
I don't think I would swap places with him. You have captured the mood wonderfully.
Great photojournalism, it tells a sad story and makes you reflect on life and our different options.
  • macgo
  • Spain
  • 21 Mar 2010, 20:00
No he estado estos días, pero la serie sigue un camino excelente
  • Otto K.
  • United States
  • 21 Mar 2010, 21:14
excellent capture of this man. I can't imagine performing this job.
Wonderful shot! Full of feeling
  • Kala
  • United States
  • 22 Mar 2010, 04:05
Interesting portrait - indeed it is a rough life and that man is not young.
  • Candace
  • United States
  • 22 Mar 2010, 07:04
Poignant shot. I'm sure it's a thankless task as well as miserably difficult.
  • Nick
  • United States
  • 22 Mar 2010, 17:31
Looks like someone I know!
  • kyungmee
  • United States
  • 22 Mar 2010, 20:43
wonderful image and that expression on his face!
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 23 Mar 2010, 02:27
Rickshaw/trisaw/samlor operators are a very interesting feature of many parts of Asia, Charles. I have tried to interact with a few of them...talking them into swapping places for a ride...my experience is they turn out to be ordinary folks just trying to make a living, and they are often pleased to get a crazy farang [foreigner] to impact their boredom.

Wonderful shot.
  • yz
  • hungary
  • 23 Mar 2010, 18:50
excellent street candid

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camera NIKON D40
exposure mode full manual
shutterspeed 1/80s
aperture f/4.5
sensitivity ISO800
focal length 92.0mm
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