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Ed Wray February 28, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Indonesia.
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Boy in Spiderman Mask, Jakarta Indonesia 2006

Ed Wray (b.1962, USA) holds a degree in International Relations, a background which has given him a special interest in understanding how the news of the day becomes history. “I’ve been fortunate to have observed and photographed over the past 12 years some of the most interesting and critical issues in Asia, from Afghanistan to Fiji: coups, people’s power movements, armed conflict, natural disasters, and the ordinary lives of people living in these rapidly changing times. One of the things that most interests me about both history and photography are the ‘in between’ states where people are affected by the energies that change a situation from what was to what will be.” Over the course of Ed’s career, his work has been featured regularly in magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, Stern, Monocle, The New York Times, Le Monde, among others.

About the Photograph:

“I’ve often wondered why so many people give up their uncrowded country lives for an uncertain existence in an urban slum. The chances of striking it rich are staggeringly small. So when I read a UN statistic showing that more people were living in cities than in the countryside for the first time in human history, I decided to have a look at what people really face when they come to a big city without any resources but abundant hope. I was working in an area of Jakarta where hundreds of very poor people raise their families in makeshift tarp and plywood homes within several feet of a busy railroad track. Its one of the few places where no one tells them they can’t live there. I had been working there for several days and was just on my way back home from the railroad tracks when I saw this young boy with his spiderman mask sleeping against a wall on a cardboard box. For me, he embodied the answer to the question of why so many leave the countryside for big cities. Simply put, the dream of a better life is a stronger pull than the reality which consumes most people who come to the big city from the countryside.”

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