The Other Side Of The Tracks

I’m afraid there is no other side here. Have been photographing along the train tracks that run through Dhaka this past week.  Went out with my video camera for the first time two days ago. This is what I saw and heard:

—Old and young men breaking rocks with a hammer by hand- with the sound of the train whistle in the background- the construction industry needs material

—A train passing by just a few feet away from a tea stall- shot from the inside with beautiful light

—A room full of men watching Bangladeshi music videos- a mini cinema

—Men barely protecting their eyes while sparks are flying as the melt steel

—Garment workers crossing the tracks on their way to work, a common site all over town, they walk up to five km to save on bus fare always looking so joyful in their colorful flowing sari’s all laughing and walking together

Yesterday after teaching two classes and holding office hours I wasn’t planning to go out shooting but I had to seize the moment. One of my students in the photo workshop came up after class and asked for some tips on how to operate his new digital camera. It turned out that he lived in the same place  I was filming the day before. Since he was heading home I asked if I could accompany him. Out of a city of 12 million we ended up back at the exact spot from where I filmed the same old man breaking the same old rocks the day before.  Having my student translate and ask questions in Bangla was a huge help. His house was also along the tracks not more then 30 feet where he lived with his extended family of 30 people including aunts, uncles and cousins. His father owns the local dealership for Yokohama tires but that’s another story I will save for later.


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