Cause and Effect

WPP has been pulled up on social media for “promoting the series.”

WPP has been pulled up on social media for “promoting the series.”

By Vandana Kalra

A photo series intended to highlight “extreme poverty and disease” in India has invited severe outrage on social media. Shared by Italian photographer Alessio Mamo on the Instagram handle of World Press Photo (WPP), the photographs were taken in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, described by Mamo as “two of the poorest states of India”. Titled “Dreaming Food”, the series conceived in 2011 has visibly poor subjects standing with their faces covered in front of tables full of food. The caption reads: “The idea of this project was born after reading the statistics of how much food is thrown away in the West, especially during Christmas time. I brought with me a table and some fake food, and I told people to dream about some food that they would like to find on their table.”

Responding to the criticism, Mamo said in a statement, “The people I photographed were living in a village and they were not suffering from malnutrition anymore, they were not hungry or sick, and they freely participated in the project… I want to offer my deepest apologies to anyone who felt offended and hurt by this photos, and to the people I photographed.”

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