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Documentary Exhibition Space - D.E.S. - curated by the CBDP.

The CBDP is committed to providing space for our documentary photographers to show their work to as wide an audience as possible. It's great to have so much support from the photography community but our aim is to place the work in the main stream so that the non photographer can also learn about the world and it's stories. This page is devoted to exhibiting documentary photography, it gives the image makers the unique opportunity to show their full projects to the public and you the viewer can enjoy and dwell on the images at your own speed. 

Our first exhibition of documentary photography is an exclusive and we are very honoured to be able to show this important work, by photographer Bharat Patel.

Example of Documentary Photography by Bharat Patel, Centre for British Documentary Photography. 2022.

Women in the Construction Industry - India
Photographs Bharat Patel.

Copyright 2022.

Over the past several decades India has seen a boom in the construction industry. According to prevailing practice in the construction industry, the owner employs contractors who undertake the task of supplying labour and material and supervising the building. Many contractors and agent have set up shop to supply the labour force needed for such rapid development.

Of the female work force in India more than 90% are in the informal sector. They do not have regular salaried employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organised sector. They are usually illiterate who make a living through their own labour.

In a typical work format at construction sites, the men work as masons while the women work as unskilled labour. Women’s task is of preparing cement and transporting bricks to where they are needed. This arrangement seems to be well suited for a husband-and-wife team or as a family unit.

Over many visits to construction sites, in small villages and cities I was fascinated by the amount of work the women were undertaking. Many had their young children at the site, who needed constant attention while they carried out strenuous work. Some working while being pregnant and some working only a few days after having given birth. Most women were between 25 to 45 years of age but many as young as 15.

These images taken over several years show women in the construction industry using their only asset – their labour, carrying out back breaking work under hazardous conditions in an unprotected work environment.

Bharat Patel.


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