Thursday, November 20, 2014

On the Street…The Untouchables, Delhi



Close comment

Detach comments


  1. Fashion Snag

    November 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Love this photo!

  2. irene

    November 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    elegance and style can be found in every situation.


  3. Mimosas and Me

    November 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I wonder why she’s wearing ankle bracelets as well as the girl in the other image.

    • Amir

      November 22, 2014 at 12:14 am

      Wearing Ankle Bracelets is an Indian Tradition.

  4. Drknite

    November 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It’s interesting that you posted this picture today. I recently read about the atrocities committed to the Dalit (untouchable) people and how they are treated. Your picture placed an image with what I read.

    • L.

      November 21, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Even if they are lovely and have style they are still terribly mistreated.

  5. Hope

    November 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Such a beautiful image!

  6. Royal Wang

    November 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

  7. Liz

    November 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    such a powerful image

    giveaway on my blog!

  8. Anna

    November 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm

  9. Noemi

    November 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Beautiful photo, she looks so graceful.

  10. Sophia

    November 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Beautiful how the colors stand out amongst the grayness and drab of the background.
    I don’t know if that’s real-life beauty or if you just have a good camera!

  11. Karen Farber

    November 20, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Beautiful photo! It definitely captures the essence of these people go through

  12. From The World With Love

    November 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    From Traveling a lot to India and many others countries..what amaze me again and again is how colorful is the clothes they wear comparing to the surrounding which is very dusty and polluted …and comparing to poverty in western country which is usually in grey color..
    color are like spices it gives taste to life and i think in a way it helps people…
    Yael Guetta

    • Tiarra

      November 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Agreed. The caste system gives little opportunity for the poor to improve their lives. Although in this picture, the colors of the pattern speak for themselves. Interesting contrast between Western and Eastern cultures.

  13. cassandra

    November 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    that – is a very beautiful photograph.

  14. JessieBerlin

    November 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    So many comments to the India photos are so superficial and stupid they make me sick!

    • Raf

      November 21, 2014 at 3:56 am

      I get you Jessie..

    • Juliet

      November 21, 2014 at 4:54 am


      • Sarah

        November 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm


    • Pearl

      December 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you Jessie! Imagine talking about a fabulous ‘print’, when these people go through things so much more profound. Sigh…

  15. Kelly Skrimstad

    November 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    “Jessie” I’m so glad you posted your opinion. I couldn’t agree more! You really helped me. I read the comments as I looked at the image and became so confused. I kept thinking “is there some mistake? Are we looking at the same picture?” It’s just almost incomprehensible that this is what people actually feel when the see this image.

    • JessieBerlin

      November 21, 2014 at 4:15 am

      Yeah, I felt the same way, Kelly. Following the photo of the little flower girl, there were lots of critical comments as well, which I found encouraging. I’d like it if Scott posted a few explanatory words about what made him pick these pictures for his blog.

    • Anna

      November 21, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Jessie and Kelly, thank you for your comments. I thought I was dreaming these comments concentrating on “style” and “beauty” of a photo showing a barefoot little girl, lugging a load clearly to heavy for her small shoulders and then a photo of an Untouchable – do people even know who are the Untouchables and how they are treated in the Indian caste system?? It feels so wrong to find such photos on one of the most celebrated street style photography blog.

      • Liz

        November 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Well said. Could not agree more.

      • MollyBloom

        November 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        I agree there’s an ethical point of view to these images, but I can’t say the images are “wrong” here. I’m sure Scott is not offering this up with the thought, “gee, couldn’t you just see Dries van Noten doing that pattern in the resort line?” I don’t think he’s inviting us to have that thought, either. Anyway, that’s not my reaction. Like you, I suppose.
        Doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an artistic, stunning image.

        • Anna

          November 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

          Molly, I see your point. Please, let me explain: I am bothered, because, what we usually find on this blog, are images of people whose attire of the day could provide shoes and education to a classroom of children from less privileged regions of the world. Mr. Schumann concentrates on Italians who accesorize and apply lots of make-up in order to splash around in a pool or on how great he looks wearing New Balance sneakers while taking a photo. Or on wearing / not wearing furs, socks or what-have-you. We’re watching world famous fashionistas (including Anna Dello Russo, who, supposedly, changes her attire several times a day) or an elderly lady from Cafe Armani, wearing labels, furs and tons of jewelry. All I am saying is that the two pictures from India – one of the barefoot girl and another one of the supposedly Untouchable – ring a false note in all the parade of glamour and self-obsession. I’ve never criticised their artistic value. All I am saying is, putting them herÄ™, on the street-FASHION blog, seems wrong to me. And a wave of comments circulating around style, floral patterns, bracelets, etc. just confirms my feeling. I do not think that poverty or social injustice are topics to be regarded in a fashion or style context.

        • JessieBerlin

          November 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

          That’s why I said I’d like it if Scott gave a comment, then we could all stop “supposing”…

        • Malvika Jain

          November 26, 2014 at 4:48 am

          Putting such images in a fashion blog seems justified to me because you can celebrate fabric, a splash of colour or style, even if involuntary… and it does have its place next to the best fashion you see on ramp. It’s because you are getting to the heart of something aesthetic that touches you.. not looking at ramp or not, expensive or cheap.

  16. Sarah

    November 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    She’s not wearing a face covering for religious reasons, folks.

    • Thulasiram

      December 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      LIKE :) LIKE :) your comment . Exactly what you said is true. Dusty roads folks.

  17. Patricia

    November 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    What a beautiful shot! It has an almost mystical sheen.

  18. maithili

    November 21, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Great image! This image was only made beautiful, caught by a non-Indian eye. We would ve never imagined! Very dignified…

  19. Agata

    November 21, 2014 at 8:12 am

    what a sad picture. the caste system in India makes my stomach sick.

  20. Brenda Davis

    November 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Using the term ‘untouchables’ is highly classist….and based in ancient discriminatory laws and colonization.

  21. stacey ristuccia

    November 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

    India’s National constitiution of 1950 abolished the practice of untouchability and replaced it with ‘positive discrimination’. 65 years later, you still have the same caste system a prime example of theory vs practice.

    Your photos are captivating- regardless of the subject matter we should all remember that there is a bigger story waiting to be told; if only someone would listen.

  22. Sharon

    November 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Mr. Schuman, I’d be happy to read anything you have to say about your trip to India besides your admittedly beautiful photographs. You seem to touch on a lot of problematic and disturbing things in your images (especially this one, with this caption). I’d like to believe that what you see here is more than personal style, more than print and color “like spices” like the ignoramuses of this comment thread have noticed. In your photos I see stories of extreme privilege and extreme poverty through an exoticized lens. Please comment further.

  23. Lindy702

    November 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Photojournalism? I hope so…an important shot and I do agree that at times, there is a ‘shallow perspective’ of what we really need to understand …color and foreground are exceptional.

  24. phyl

    November 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

    The photo brought to mind my first trip to the Orient: Bangkok. Inside a mini-van on way to a top-class hotel, stuck in traffic, I see a poor woman, swathed in rags from head to toe and wearing a peasant’s straw hat, sweeping the street in unbearable hear and humidity, the smog thick and poisonous around her. I couldn’t see her face, her eyes. … I was on my honeymoon, with saputo have been a happy time. Twenty years have passed, my marriage was short-lived: but I have never forgotten the poor woman I saw that day.

  25. J

    November 21, 2014 at 10:00 am

    ….Or maybe just stop distinguishing castes altogether.

  26. Nina

    November 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Although this picture is beautiful, I’m a little confused at how the conclusion was reached that this woman is an “untouchable.” I’m from India, and while books, movies and well-meaning westerners may consistently highlight misery, this woman is more likely just a shopkeeper or maid cleaning the street, using her scarf so dust doesn’t go into her mouth. Indians rarely ever use the term untouchable in speech or practice and the caste system is hardly all over the place. Basically, please don’t go to India and be all “wow, look at the poverty, so sad.”

    • Olivia

      November 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. Curious to know how you knew this person was an “untouchable”. As of the legitimacy of having or not a picture posted on this site, I believe this is a street style blog, and whoever is on the street and catches the eye of the photographer deserves to be here. It is not a political or social forum.

      • MollyBloom

        November 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        Absolutely. I’ve always seen this blog as simply recording the public selves we present to the world. Every human being engages in this essentially human activity. Photographs allow us to stop and stare at people as we would never stop and stare at them in real life. Scott’s portraits invite us “in” to people’s lives this way. And yes, we do make judgments, draw conclusions, assign praise and blame, and make impertinent speculations about the subject of each of his photographs. This, too, is an essentially human activity.
        I find it striking that while we visitors usually will not post judgmental or morally preening remarks about the subject of a photo (barring fur or cigarettes) unfortunately some of us are not so kind to our fellow posters.
        And yes, let’s please have at least one place to go that is non political! I for one need the rest.

        • JessieBerlin

          November 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm

          … a place where we can take time off from empathy and responsibility? C’mon, that’s too easy! And if some of the comments here p…ut me off, why shouldn’t I say so? Aren’t you being judgemental towards me for speaking my mind ;) ??

          • MollyBloom

            November 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

            Ha, ha! No, I suppose you are also just engaging in a universal human activity. And I was being empathetic, in fact;)

    • Malvika Jain

      November 26, 2014 at 4:44 am

      totally agree. n ppl are writing ‘sad life, beautiful photo’… quick and firm conclusions, much?

  27. Christie

    November 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Using heart and eye to go beyond style and find the beauty in the moments. Thank you, Scott, thank you India, thank you young woman.

    • Iris

      January 27, 2015 at 7:25 am


  28. JV

    November 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I assumed she was wearing the face covering as a dust mask. Scott, how did you determine this woman was an untouchable? Not criticizing, just wondering. It is a striking image, both for the undeniable style of this woman, and for the context.

  29. Noranda

    November 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I wonder why you titled the photo “the untouchables”. I don’t find it very creative.
    You are putting her in her caste, just as her culture has put her in schakles for
    Eternity! Is she not a person first?

  30. Gabrielle

    November 22, 2014 at 3:43 am

    There is more freedom in the world beyond the franchised West, more choices, wider gulfs, gaudier, diverse, amazing to be in. From experience, people who are the hero in their own life story usually don’t have their sense of self regulated by advertisements and tv shows the way the majority of commentators (the most vocal, the ones who purport to speak on behalf of Joe Normal) who are products of malls and fast food do.
    I like this picture because it is everything at once. So much celebration, annoyance, health and danger, etc combined.

  31. Em

    November 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Are you out of your mind Mr.Schumann? You just used a highly politically charged word with no context whatsoever. You must either be terribly ill-informed or terribly unapologetically uncaring. The system of segregation that you have chosen to so nonchalantly name is both about a specific set of crimes, and a specific set of marginalized people. Do not use reported speech so carelessly.

    The comments following this post are of course even more noteworthy.

  32. Shayok

    November 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I think the picture is beautiful but I am really disappointed by the tagline used for it. I am surprised that you decided to tag it as “untouchable”, when there is absolutely no evidence to suggest anything of that nature in this picture. This appears to be a part of what is essentially a daily chore for a lot of people in the country- trying to keep the area near your house or shop clean, and masking your face during that time to keep away the dust.

    “Untouchability” is a menace in the Indian society which has largely been eradicated, but there are some pockets where work still remains. Let us not trivialise the matter with incorrect captions in pics. If photos are to be used for some sort of social commentary, they need to be well researched so as not to loose credibility.

  33. Magdalena

    November 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Nov 21st 8:51 am
    Sharon’s comment rings like silver, shines like gold.

    ” In your photos I see stories of extreme privilege and extreme poverty through an exoticized lens. Please comment further. “

  34. Liz Klebba

    November 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Intersting… All the comments this week about what does or doesn’t “belong” on this blog. I am glad I stopped in at the end of the week to view them all at once and take a broad view. If I am correct, this is Mr. Schuman’s blog, and that gives him the right to post whatever pictures HE finds appropriate, interesting, and/or thought provoking. What I find just as disturbing is the vitriol, self-righteousness, and indignation the viewers/commenters are pouring out on each other and the autor. This dehumanizing of others is where so much of the world’s misery begins. Including that of this week’s images.

    • JessieBerlin

      November 24, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      How curious. Whereas I found it encouraging to read comments of people standing up for their ideas and ideals, speaking their minds bravely, even at the risk of voicing an unpopular opinion. Showing hurt and anger, being honest, and, most important, not ceasing to TALK to each other. As I see it, the world’s misery begins when people stop talking. (Of course Scott Schuman can post whatever he choses, but nobody is obliged to like it, and the fact his blog provides a comment function makes me assume that he is interested in our – very diverse – opinions.)

  35. franklan

    November 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    respect traditional women, and their beauty inside, more than sexy clothing.

  36. Brenda

    November 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

    How about changing the ‘title’ of the photo to Woman Sweeping.

  37. LIZPR

    November 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Sometimes the photos serve different purposes.

    Some are strictly about fashion.

    Others are an observation or commentary on life. Sometimes the clothing stands out, not for style reasons but for contrast of rich colour, or there’s just something striking about it – like seeing a commercial brand logo in a very remote location – and Scott capturing the dichotomy of that.

    So I see this photo as a combinations of things – noting something as simple as a young girl sweeping and the intensity of the colours she happens to be wearing.

    This is how I see The Sartorialist blog evolving – starting from a place of street style to something bigger.

    It reminds me of Anthony Bourdain on CNN. He used to host TV shows strictly about the food and culture of a restaurant. Now, he tours the world, largely doing a documentary about a location and its traditions, with the food being the common thread, and sometimes almost incidental to the episode itself.

    It’s how storytelling evolves, people.

  38. Voza

    November 26, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Since I saw the picture of the little girl and after this one, I couldn’t stop thinking Mr Schumann is trying so hard to clean up the act of being considered a mere blogger or Street Style Photographers. Schumann is looking for a wider recognition of his work as an artist and in a way feels being linked only to Fashion and having his amateur beginnings may stop a wider audience from appreciating his talent. I think the best way to expose his new found social awareness will be to create another window (blog, website, etc) to show this other more photojournalistic” work” which could be marketed from his usual platform. I comment from a lot of empathy because we humans tend to evolve in this way. There are so many cases of people going from a very simple approach to a more elaborated one. Look a Vicky Beckham! Angie Jolie!

  39. lao

    December 4, 2014 at 3:59 am

    cruel country where the untouchable status does not protect against rape

  40. Cecilia Dougherty

    December 22, 2014 at 8:04 am

    The term preferred by the people themselves is Dalit. The term Untouchables is derogatory. No need to romanticize poverty.

  41. wedding photography

    September 9, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Industrial photographers these days are equipped with requisite and highly professional cameras that
    are easy to carry, have 18 mega pixels, an exterior flash and have a large memory.
    They make use of their skills in full professional attitude.
    At the present, it is recommended to have lenses that have faster shutter speed and better options to let you to take sharp pictures in busy background.

  42. Knottytales

    July 14, 2018 at 5:02 am

    Its all about a good photographer, if he knows about the candid photography.

Leave a comment

Related posts