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Natisha Mallick | Maids of Gurgaon

Baby Halder reflected on a mirror inside her room at DLF Phase-1, Gurgaon, India.

A collaborative photography project under the aegis of Neel Dongre Awards/Grants for Excellence in Photography (2013) by India Photo Archive Foundation

Maids today are an integral part of the modern Indian household. With surging incomes, crunch of time and a daily routine, their services are highly sought after.

Despite their ever-increasing demand the status of a maid has been reduced to just a service provider in exchange of money. Their personal struggles and sacrifices get lost amidst the hustle- bustle and the fast paced life of Gurgaon.

Through my photos I have tried to document the lives of 5 maids working as domestic help in various pockets of the city, after migrating from villages to escape the poverty and make a better and secure future for themselves and their children. 
Also I chanced upon meeting Baby Halder who used to work as a domestic help and has turned her life around becoming an internationally acclaimed author.

Portrait of Baby inside her quarter with her daughter in the background.
Hasina at her workplace, Princeton Appartments in Gurgaon.
Courtyard of the chawl where Hasina lives in Chakkarpur village
Juhi at work, Mahalaxmi Appartments
Juhi with her family at South City
Lokhi Das, Chakkarpur Village in Gurgaon
Lokhi in the common washing area, Chakkarpur Village in Gurgaon
Common washing area for shanties opposite Palladium Sector 51 in Gurgaon
Mani shouts at her son. They are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living in the shanties opp. Palladium Sector 51 in Gurgaon
Poonam Devi with her daughter outside their home in Sector 31 in Gurgaon
Poonam inside her home in sector 31, Gurgaon

Q&A with Natisha Mallick

Photography is:

One of the most important tools that can help bring about a change. Through photography many important events have been documented and still are being done to cause awareness about the situations.

Photography and writing:

Even though photography being a strong tool for documentation, Writing does play an important role, as sometimes a picture isn’t enough and more information is needed to tell about the situation/story in a much stronger way.

Who left the biggest impression on you? 

There is no single photographer but many images that have left an impression on my mind, to work as a social documentary photographer. A little story I would like to share from my own experience, when I was in Kashmir back in 2012 and was trying to work & understand the situation of the Half Widows and Mother’s of Disappeared Persons. I came across Naseema and her mother-in law Husana Banu; whose husband/son is missing for over 12years now. And when Husana told me “that journalists keep coming and documenting –but no help comes to us” that was the time I realized how difficult and at the same time important it is to make sure the documentation is done in a proper manner and not just for our own personal gains.

Tell us a little about yourself

After completing my graduation in Computer Science & Engineering in 2010, I took up photography professionally in 2011, with an internship at Agence France Presse in New Delhi under Findlay Kember. This was a turning point in my life for it was the first time I worked on a photo-story/series. During this time I also met Neeraj Priyadarshi, National Editor of Indian Express, a national daily, who has also helped me a lot in realizing the importance of photo-stories.
In Jan 2012 I was amongst the 5 students selected for the Oslo University college exchange program workshop in Kolkata by Greg Marinovich. Later, I was selected for the 8th Angkor Photo Workshop.
My long term project “Living at the Edge of Life” through which I am trying to document the lack of rural-health in West Bengal has gained international recognition at Photocrati Fund in 2013.
I was one of the recipients of the Neel Dongre Award for Excellence in photography in association with India Photo Archive Foundation, which is one of the few grants that help in promoting emerging photographers in the country.
I want to concentrate on stories of social relevance and hope that my images contribute to public awareness of unbalanced situations.

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Natisha Mallick

Natisha Mallick b. 1988, India. Natisha is a software engineer by education and a strong believer in the visual medium. Her photography career started… More »

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