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Tough Way to Start Saturday Morning, New Delhi


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tough Way to Start Saturday Morning, New Delhi

I knew I was going to see things like this but it still doesn't prepare you for when it actually happens.

Further down the road I saw an even younger girl playing on a 6 inch wide lane divider like it was a balance beam in the middle of a gym. Traffic was flying by her on both sides.

It leaves me a little numb, more than a little numb - you know it was like that yesterday and it will like that tomorrow.

Comments on "Tough Way to Start Saturday Morning, New Delhi"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:41 AM) : 

she's lovely.


Blogger lucia martinez said ... (12:53 AM) : 

in reference to your earlier post (on not buying into exoticism as photographic subject matter), this escapes that, doesn't it? she's beautiful, but this doesn't glamorize or fetishize her life.

it's the pictures like these, that evoke these moments, that make me read your blog. thank you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:55 AM) : 

My God...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:05 AM) : 

OOh I feel your pain. I was ready when I visited Nepal last summer, but I lost my composure when I get there. We are very lucky!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:10 AM) : 

While in Honduras, I discovered that the children are fearless in all that they do. Despite everything, I admire them more than anyone else.


Blogger benson said ... (1:55 AM) : 

You're in a career where you look for beauty so when you see something like this...I'm sure it throws you.
I remember reading an article about JFK Jr.(forgive me if I've mistaken identities with Brad Pitt?)traveling to Africa and wanting to take off his shirt to give to one child...the guide told him he must not because there are just too many that are in need but he could always help in other ways. I think you're doing that now by showing us the reality of where you're at.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:12 AM) : 

I like reading this blog, and I've been impressed with your eye for humanity. But this picture, along with your comment, depresses and discourages me.

That you could say that witnessing this human being leaves you numb - I think it's awful. "It was like that yesterday and it will [be] like that tomorrow" - because we let it. Because your response is numbness rather than something of use.


Blogger starbahks said ... (2:17 AM) : 

a photograph that evokes so much.
and not just- sympathy, or sadness,
but admiration, and an appreciation for beauty that exists in a child, wherever she is in the world.

absolutely stunning.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:02 AM) : 

sartorialist or armchair national geographicist? privileged white people are always so shocked and awed (or temporarily numbed)by the everyday goings-on of impoverished nations. gimme a break! however gorgeous and heart-wrenching, where's the "sartorial" in this photograph?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:18 AM) : 

So sad.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:31 AM) : 

welcome to the real's too easy to forget "we" (the western world) are the minority. thank you for keeping life (and the fashion world) in perspective.


Blogger Sukesh Kumar said ... (6:35 AM) : 

Welcome to India, my dear


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:17 AM) : 

I hope you gave her some money for the photo you took of her...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:26 AM) : 

you should visit south east asia more, scott. the children are more independent and street-smart.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (9:34 AM) : 

For Anon 3:02
Why do i have to choose?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:01 AM) : 

this makes me so sad.
i've lost some of the context though?
is she asking for money, or selling herself?
either way, she couldn't be more than 9? the red on her lips/cheeks ... my heart hurts.
children need nothing but unconditional love.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:01 AM) : 

So haunting... So many people are killed by traffic in India...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:28 AM) : 

i know what you mean. it is what it is. lots of like that in the Philippines too.


Blogger secondvurss said ... (11:07 AM) : 

it is sad... i find situations like this one make me vacillate between feelings of extreme emotion (i.e. sadness, anger) and numbness. the intensity of the moment causes an overload of the senses.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:19 AM) : 

First time in India ? But not the first tourist guy impressed by the poverty. Billions of such pictures have been taken previously by tourists.

So the questions are :

Why was it necessary to take that picture ?
Why was it necessary to show that picture ?


Blogger Cheltenhamdailyphoto said ... (11:31 AM) : 

I'm so sad. I am glad you took this emotive photo to keep us all aware. Poor little girl, just makes me want to scoop her up, look after her and her family and turn that sad face into a happy one. There are so many more just like her though. Do you know why the red cheeks? Is it a religious mark or what?

Last week the BBC has organised Sport Relief (sports personalities helping to raise awareness and cash from tv viewing public), raising money to help such causes. You can see more here.

BBC Sports Relief


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:32 AM) : 

You have a beautiful heart.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:18 PM) : 

i didn't get it at first...but perhaps she's a child prostitute? the red paint on her lips and cheeks..


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:39 PM) : 

i think a lot of the commenters above naively miss out on what is being pictured/discussed in this post.

yes, she is beautiful. yes, many people are killed in traffic. but that's beside the point. this is about child prostitutes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:20 PM) : 

to the sartorialist,
from anon 3:02 (wow! what was I doing up so late/early?!)

in any case, you're right to ask:
"why do i have to choose?"
yes. we're too multi-faceted and inconsistent as human beings to choose just one option. hamlet showed us how excruciatingly difficult choosing can be. but it was not so much WHAT you chose to photograph but HOW you chose to caption it. why does the face of the "tragic" always have to be so far removed geographically from us? Her face and her plight are no different than what you'd find in our own back door. the face of numb-inducing poverty or tragedy does not only reside outside of our borders. the whole language of "nothing prepares you" or "i was left more than a little numb" is so cliche! the language itself is numb: it does nothing, nada, zilch! the language -- dare i say -- is merely "fashionable" for that kind of photograph.

and i hope you don't think -- like a lot of people -- that my criticism precludes me from appreciating your work. i look at your page every morning (even in the wee hours of the morning, no?).
all best.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:54 PM) : 

Dear Sart,

Clearly you're good at what you do. But this is not what you do. Your site in its very definition is defined as sharing photographs relating to clothes, tailoring or style of dress. I believe this photograph does not fall into that category; the photos above and below arguably do however. If you would like to share your travel photos and your opinion on the state of humanity in the developing world, please start another website; I'm sure you would do very well at that as well. I wish you all the best in life, love and travels.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:00 PM) : 

Beautiful photo. One that will stay with me for a long time.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:09 PM) : 

"awwww he has a beautiful heart" blah blah blah

because an old white man took a picture of a child? PLEASE! dont even get me started on what you would actually really need to do mr. sart to have a big heart. or to feel actually numb.

dont even go near those waters because even though lots of us wear prada, we still donate/attend charity events/and some of us actually go out to these countries and not to shoot for magazines. but to HELP

i hope this is the last "sad" photo you post, because you will get some serious backlash. i promise.

stick to street style, do what you do. because if you're not going to do each job 100%, just do one. so yes, you must choose.

this makes me so sick of you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:19 PM) : 

When i return to india every 4 years i have the same feeling. If you remove child labor it gets worse. As a parent, why would i ever want my child to work? This is because of the huge social disparity. Poor parents make more babies so that they can bring in more money. Look at what capitalism did to India! Now we have 4 indians on the top 10 richest people in the world. Big Deal! As capitalists, we do not want social welfare, reforms, health care for everybody, so why be shocked at the output? It's the survival of the fittest, isnt it? Sart you should go to KHAN market in Delhi, awesome photo opportunities. You will see this gentleman with a scarf and a walking stick! amazing...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:35 PM) : 

I too have spent time in New Delhi
and these children will never leave your suggestion is to buy some fruit at a local market before you set out for the day with your car and driver -then you have it available to give to these individual children that come up to your car at traffic junctions....rupees may go to organized groups that send these children out to beg, but fruit or clean water could help the child. Namaste


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:45 PM) : 

For those of you judging Scott's comments on this picture: His is just an honest human response. You shouldn't judge someone's sincere and well meaning feelings when confronted by something so sad and confusing.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:56 PM) : 

Welcome to India? Try welcome to the world. Do you know how many places in the world this is happening? How many children are starving, begging for pennies? How many months do you think this girl and her family could exist for the price of what you spend on a single shirt? Of course she moved you, but what you do about it is what defines you. So what are you going to do about it? Time to stop worrying about how you look and focus on how you ACT.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (2:57 PM) : 

For Anon 11:19am
1 - I am a photographer and taking photos is what I do

2-because it is an important part of my experience here in Delhi.

for anon 2:09
what makes you think I don't do the same things in my own way?
besides don't you think the discussion this has created sheds light on this situation?
anon 2:35pm gives a great option on how to handle such a situation.

at the end of the day this blog is a visual diary of my life so if you have a problem with that then you will just have to have a problem.

ps this girl was dancing not selling herself


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:15 PM) : 

Sart, I love the picture. Heartbreaking. But beautiful. Humane. And please, don't mind the negative commenters, because in any progress you make there's always going to be jealousy.

At any rate, keep up the wonderful work. Delhi's too beautiful for you too only take just a few pictures.. =)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:27 PM) : 

Sorry, Sart. In India, when young women wear this particular war paint it's a very specific symbol. Though she may have been dancing when you saw her...


Blogger Eliza Grey said ... (3:32 PM) : 

To Anon 3:02 and Anon 1:20,

You're going to cite Hamlet and then call someone else cliched? Really?

Sorry, I couldn't let that go.

I'm not going to say I've never seen a picture like this before, but I think this is a great one, sad and beautiful at the same time, and then even sadder because it's so beautiful. Her face is so expressive. She looks really pensive for a little kid.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:34 PM) : 

anon 2:45 has it right.

I think when "we" visit a blog devoted to fashion -- and often, high Western fashion with snapshots of models and celebrities -- we enjoy the the escapism of Sart's photographs in glamorous Manhatten, New York, Milan.

Then, when we are reminded that the excesses of fashion and the indulgences of style point more to "our" privileges than some transcendent thing called "Fashion", it becomes really uncomfortable.

So, some have reacted by telling Sart to ...just not mention it at all! Others read this as Sart's personal failings as your standard White Rich Western Man. Others smugly ask why Sart is busy snapping photos instead of doing something "more." Why don't we talk about OUR discomfort more honestly and stop laying all the blame on Sart?

While I don't disagree that Sart's fashion preferences tend to reify rich standards of the Western metropoles, I still appreciate his eye, his artistry, his interest, and above all his honesty as a photographer. All of the India photos have been beautiful.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:42 PM) : 

Fashion, it seems to me, always belongs in a context, whether it is a cultural context or a historical one. By providing an image such as this which gives perspective on the Sart's vision of the environment, it would seem to relate the pictured fashion photos moreso to their particular context than without it.
The image begins a dialogue. If for no other reason it should be lauded for that.
I for one appreciate it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:49 PM) : 

Thanks for posting, Sart. I appreciate your work, this included.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:52 PM) : 

I don't see anything wrong with this picture. You've posted non-fashion photos before.


Blogger Gene said ... (4:02 PM) : 

I'm so sorry to read comments attacking you for this photograph. So many times I've read negative comments here and I've thought these people forget that this is his blog not theirs. They have no right to dictate to you what is 'okay' for you to post.

I wonder how many of the negative commenters have actually looked a human being like this in the eye. It's one thing to understand that child prostitution and poverty go on in every country in the world and quite another to have one walk up to you in flesh and blood. Anyone who has seen these things knows that even if it is cliche it does leave you numb because you can't change the world. Even if you gave everything you had you can't change the world and neither will all the negative talk directed at what is an honest expression of emotion.

I hope that these people do not discourage you from expressing yourself as you see fit. Don't forget we are all guests here. Posts like this aren't off limits just because your suppose to be shooting street fashion. Human beings are more complicated creatures than that.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:05 PM) : 

I understand your feelings here, I must admit your reaction seems a tiny bit naive. I do hope that this experience will help you realize that you (and I and many of your readers) live more safely and comfortably than the vast majority of human beings on this planet. It's perhaps easy to forget that when you're photographing people in $1000 shoes.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:10 PM) : 

Singlemindedness sees life with divisions, limits, taboos - forget it. Congratulations, Sart, for being able to look freely into what lives and happens before your eyes. As we very well know, life in our planet is often very poignant, but it is a whole. So... here's to children and life and you! Long live fashion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:14 PM) : 

This the start for something better and wider perspective for your blog. I much respect your fashion work this far and look forward to the future. Some of us as anon 2.09 can only blame others to ease their pain, do not take that personally.


Blogger Rachel said ... (4:49 PM) : 

Here's an obvious comment: when we see something sad, we should feel sad. Scott had an appropriate response to a child being used by others. Our appearance shows the world what's going on in our lives: other photos show stylish people, my clothes show I'm a middle class American, and this girl's makeup shows she has to work for a living. Which is sad.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:06 PM) : 

At first, I did not like your comment about this photo like quite a few commenters, but then I remembered something. In my last year in school, I went to see a lecture from a seemingly socially aware photographer. But to my dismay, she gushed about how "cool" and "great" the people she took pictures of were. The pictures she showed included a woman smoking crack while about 8 months pregnant, children doing/selling drugs, deadbeat dads, women selling themselves for drugs and losing their children to the state, etc. Now I am a suburbanite but have visited the ghetto and poor countries, and I was just shocked about what hot ish she thought she was for moving her and her kid into the ghetto and being accepted, or something I dunno, by ghetto black people (well this is the vibe I got off of her). I mean give me a break, for such powerful photos she showed no sympathy or empathy for the poor people who are products of their environments. It was like she didn't care because she could go back to wherever she came from at any time, whereas the people she took documented will stay where they are.

So then I realized, I am glad you were affected by such an image - imagine how many people zoomed by this girl and saw nothing. I think it is perfectly OK to feel worried about a child in the middle of a busy street even though as you acknowledged that that's just the way it is.

All that being said, I look forward to seeing all of the photos you post from India - after all this is your blog so you should be able to post whatever the hell you want. I hope you will be able to get some photos of the sikhs who match their turbans (?) to their pocket squares like a commenter posted on your "BTW, I'm going to India..." post a few days ago.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:30 PM) : 

I was born in India and raised in the States - I appreciate all of these pictures! Thank you.

Anyway, it's Sart's blog and he can post whatever he likes and feel whatever he likes.

Some of you are waaaay judgemental, which is a funny way to show you have a superior sense of humanity......"I give to charity, blah, blah, blah." Each human is precious, East or West, Rich or Poor.


Blogger styleandsubstance said ... (5:44 PM) : 


No matter what you say, there will be people here that will want to shoot it down. It is soooo much easier to attack you than to be positive and productive. I hope that they are currently channeling that anger to take action and I am sure they are. Anything that helps to create dialogue is helpful... and might even lead to action. Keep up the great work. It is your heart that helps you find those elements in your picture that people respond to.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:54 PM) : 

The comment about readers feeling "jealousy" for your progress is misguided and becoming all too routine a response when anyone has any words of criticism. The fact is that all foreigners have this "numb" response to India and it's fairly predictable. Which doesn't mean that it's not genuine or eye-opening for you. So who knows . . . . maybe one picture is enough to open minds.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:54 PM) : 

Yes, there is an element of "the well-off white man" travelling the world.

But how much of the antagonism to this photo is based out of guilt? People on this blog have no problem about spending hours discussing sleeve lengths or pleats - but you all get into a frenzy when Scott puts up something that matters?

I have become addicted to this blog, not only for the clothes, but because so many times Scott puts up wonderfully artistic photos (I'm thinking the mother/daughter duo at the show" but he's only allowed to get us going over fashion?
I know he's the "sartorialist" but does that mean that he's not a citizen of the world?
I commend him for not putting something trite like, "oh i gave her some money and made her day" or "look at her use of make-up"
but rather he was honest about how multi-faceted the world is, where people need both art and questions.

people really need to stop getting defensive because of everything this photo makes you NOT want to deal with.

Scott just keep putting up what inspires you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:32 PM) : 

If that's the worst you saw you're doing well. No tramps and leprosy suffers literally dying in the gutters yet then?


Blogger 1234 said ... (7:19 PM) : 

im on your side scott. youre right, this is your blog, your diary. people are just going to have to accept that fact, whether they like it or not. yes, you brought awareness to the matter, and that is whats important. there are never limits when youre a photographer, just keep doing what you do best: take beautiful photos. (and enjoy your trip!)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:34 PM) : 

Geez some people are heartless...
Great pics Sart. I’ve traveled India and your heart does break again and again. This trip will put life into perspective though also open your eyes to a gorgeous country full of color and life. Thanks for sharing. Namaste x


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:05 PM) : 

Frankly, isn't this your own personal blog, without any corporate affiliation? If it is then you can post and say what you what. Those who have a problem with how you word something or your view point can just choose to disagree and leave it at that. In fact, I wish that you would caption your pictures even more! I love to hear the stories behind the experience of the picture.

I always thought that you were about capturing beauty and certain moments in time, not strictly fashion. This picture for me is just that, but even more personal and revealing. After all, if it were just about fashion then you wouldn't have even thought about the artistically beautiful moments of light and environment that you capture.


Blogger mimi said ... (8:28 PM) : 

I have to say, I'm a little perturbed by the kind of comments these latest pics have brought up. As a british asian who has a very different experience of India, I was really excited to see how the Sart would interpret this country and what he'd find. But so much bitterness...!

The commentators who've suggested that the sart should make a 'choice' between taking vacuous, pretty 'sartorial' pictures or engaging in social critique are being terribly facetious, wrapping yourselves up in rhetoric... firstly, by saying that the sart should stick to trouser cuts and nice shirts, you're implying that style is just superfluous and superficial - detached from any deeper engagement with life. I think the whole blog is a testament to the fact that this isn't true.

Also, to suggest that a reaction of 'numbness' to this is cliché is such tripe! Language is all we have to articulate experience with, and when pain, grief, sorrow cross the limits of experience, perhaps numbness is all there is. And to disqualify genuine feeling as cliché is dangerous. Someone mentioned Hamlet - dear god, that's one long ode to numbness and the inarticulate in itself - just because the Sart's a photographer not a poet doesn't cheapen or devalue his reaction in any way. And there's nothing in the sart's caption that suggests any distance or removal from what he photographed - yes, poverty, suffering, abuse - these things exist all over the world - but here it is a lot more explicit - it's not hidden in some suburb or the headlines of a newspaper, but it's there in your face - in the stink, in the sounds, in the streets. It's a slap in the face from reality - but it's not some comfortably detached reality that you can feel sad at and then turn away - it's one that, if you're only willing to think a little, will resonate deeply with you, at the level of your own immediate environment and experience.

It's very easy to be seduced by a rhetoric of political correctness and false action - but the Sart's given us something free of this - a genuine, personal and honest response. Yes, he's a white male with a comfortable life, but why should he have to apologise for his background? He's not clouding himself behind his privilege - he's used this site and his success as an opportunity to go beyond, to explore, to provoke - to get us to ask questions we may not have even considered. That, if anything, is his job as a photographer.

(apologies btw for such a long warble!)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:38 PM) : 

Scott, thanks for giving us eyes to see so many different types of things.

Even though I've visited your site daily for a couple of years, I've only recently started to implement looks I've seen on your site, largely using pieces already in my wardrobe. It's worked so well every time that I'm doing it more and more. So far, my favorites are mixing colors more freely and belting a cardigan over a tailored sleeveless work dress instead of wearing the suit jacket.

My day job deals with social justice issues, and sometimes I feel like much of what I do is try to find ways to give people ears to hear about my issue. It's often very helpful when people outside an issue add their own words or images--so thanks for lending your camera and your thoughts about children in Delhi, as well as for giving lots of us a more discerning eye to apply to our own style.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:01 PM) : 

Some of you all really need to (for lack of a better word)...chill out! Scott has never tried to present his work as something more then it is (perfectly put as a "visual diary of his life"). He simply posts the picture, it's up to you how you view it but not once has he tried to force his 'opinion' on us.

I appreciate all your photos, please don't hold back Scott!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:48 PM) : 

Great photo Sart


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:50 PM) : 

It is obviously your blog and you are obviously free to post whatever pictures you like. However, there is something hypocritical about this post: you make your money documenting frivolity (frivolity that many of us enjoy, but frivolity nonetheless) and you include this photo as if the child were just another piece of eye-candy for your readers to consume. There is something deeply disturbing about a man who makes his living promoting gewgaws and trinkets suddenly “recognizing” that there are a lot more serious things in the world to be concerned about, yet continuing to go on just as before.


Blogger Anastasia said ... (10:27 PM) : 

oh my!! loving people's comments about this post...haha... you cant express your opinion on your own blog man...
this photo is really depressing but im glad you posted is not just about wearing the right shoes and being Mr/Mrs super stylish of the day - there are people and lots of children being exploited and suffering daily...we should never just ignore it...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:37 PM) : 


Don't listen to these fascists who are trying to slap you down. There is no bright line you've crossed here.

On that note - perhaps more photos of lower- and middle-class white Westerners is in order?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:56 PM) : 

It's perspective at least, isn't it? Something a lot of people could use as well. And we all tend to forget it when caught up in our ridiculous little world.


Blogger Unknown said ... (12:17 AM) : 

Sorry Sart, I love your blog, but I didn't like this photo. Not because it was bad, not because of the subject that it deals, not because of what you have said. It is just I feel it shouldn't be here.

Look, I live in a third world country at the south of your border (the closest by the way) and the last thing I want to see in your blog is the misery that surrounds me. I like your blog because it's a way of knowing there are better things in this world. Of course I am aware of all the poverty issues in my own country, but it's not like I'll go all the day with that sticked on my face.

Seeing that photograph is depressing. It shouldn't be here. It has spoiled my daily visit to your blog. In a certain way, it added bitterness to my day.

I love what you do because you shows us the joy of life expressed in fashion. This shot has not. It only reminds me that millions of people are starving all over the world while guys in NYC spend hundreds of dollars in a pair of shoes. It makes me feel unconfortable and miserable, that I myself have this picture only a few meters from my doorstep, that I may be able to change something but I'm so selfish I won't risk my material security. In fact that's why I think so many people have attacked you, they are so unconfortable with their own principles and way of life they have to discharge that frustration in something.

Sorry about this long post. I still think you are a wonderful photographer, artist, father and human being. Just wanted to add my two cents.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:26 AM) : 

I'm sure other people have mentioned cliche, but this is just about the most cliched image a photographer in India can produce: the beggar at the taxi window.

Sorry, Sart, I'm not doubting the sincerity of your feelings in posting this, but it's really not a very good shot either in terms of originality or execution. Your other portrait/fashion work on this trip has been excellent, but I don't think you quite have the knack for documentary stuff. Anyone who thinks I'm being harsh should look at the work of people like Steve McCurry, Raghubir Singh and Raghu Rai to see how poorly this picture stands up.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:47 AM) : 

Wait - Sart is sharing his reaction in an honest way, and people are slapping him down for it? *shakes head*


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:35 AM) : 

When you comment on this blog, try to keep in mind that the person behind this blog is a real person with real feelings...not a robot.


Blogger Scent Hive said ... (2:11 AM) : 

Word up Headmistress! I hope everyone takes the time to read that response. It's brilliant. Here's my fave excerpt :-)

"Language is all we have to articulate experience with, and when pain, grief, sorrow cross the limits of experience, perhaps numbness is all there is. And to disqualify genuine feeling as cliché is dangerous."

No we are not all poets, but Headmistress certainly can write some righteous prose!! Thank you for taking the time to write.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:31 AM) : 

What would a "must have" bag mean in her world?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:10 AM) : 

What makes the Sartorialist an interesting blog is that it is human and personal. You don't owe it to us to choose one subject matter or hold back a reaction you felt strongly about.

Congrats on gaining perspective on your trip and sharing with readers (myself included) who may forget how lucky we are.

Cliche, yes, but whats wrong with a positive cliche?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:56 AM) : 

Thank, Sartorialist. I'm sure you anticipated that if you looked away from fashion for a moment there would be this perverse effect that you would attract a criticism that you wouldn't otherwise get. Thanks for posting the photo anyway. Keep it up.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:50 AM) : 

Some of these comments are just plain ignorant. India is not a poor country. Although the gap between rich and poor is increasing, some of the richest people in the world live in India.



Blogger Emily said ... (8:11 AM) : 

I am touched.

You have posted an image of a survivor - regardless of what she is doing to survive her life.

Have we seen the faces of poverty before? Yes. But does that make this one any less important? No.

I come here for inspiration and I found it even here. It's not a new way to wear my closet, but a reminder of how I should look at it - with the knowledge that I am blessed.

I am sorry that above commenters have been so heartless. Perhaps if all they are looking for is fashion, they should stick to InStyle...?

I'll continue to frequent your blog, if you promise to continue posting images that are beautiful and moving.


Blogger Carolina Lange said ... (8:44 AM) : 

It's really sad... and as I live in Brazil, that happens to me every day, little boys and girls asking for money or food.
The worst part is that some of them have to give the money they get to their father and he uses the money to drink alcool!


Blogger Ankur Khanna said ... (8:58 AM) : 

Brilliant work....keep going!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:06 AM) : 

"The Sartorialist" is a sucessful blog. Scott's "visual diary" as he said above.

Opening up one's diary for people to read is exhibitionist. "Hey look at me." We can choose to read it or chose to ingnore it.

But Scott has offered his up to the general public. He's not a 13 year old girl with a diary under lock and key. He's making a good living out of this he doesn't need us to come to his defense.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:09 AM) : 

If Scott was the editor of the New York Times instead of a fashion blog and made such trite comments he would expect a range of responses.

As far as I can see this is an open forum and not everyone has the same opinion.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:30 AM) : 

I've read all the comments, and while I think those opposed to the posting of this photo have been quite harsh (and, I'm sure hypocritical, though that doesn't appear in their posts, does it?) I wonder: Scott, you are comfortable, happy, and lucky, compared to most people on this planet. Could this touching, haunting moment inspire just the slightest change to help? In this young girl's honor? Sponsor a child, donate regularly to food pantries, anything?

And as for the rest of us, whose lives are luxurious enough that we can afford to sit comfortably, happily in front of our computers and fawn over fashion, can we do anything? Make the slightest change to help? Donate, and there are always ways to help in your own communities.

I think it IS good you were affected by this. To all those who criticise you:

Even if Scott is better off than YOU, YOU are better off than most people in this world! We live like royalty compared to so many! If he can afford to help, perhaps you also can spare purchasing a few frivolous items each month and instead put some of your excess money towards helping others.

I hope all of you condemning him live your lives in a way that back up your pointed fingers. If not, shame on you, and make a change if you're going to make such accusations.

One man can't solve the world's problems. We all need to work at it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:37 AM) : 

What I find interesting is the sheep mentality and the safety in anonymity...on this blog. SHOCKING. The whole tone of the criticism changed after Sart and a few not so self righteous bloggers stated their opinions.Blogging anonymously makes people think very highly of their snark skills. Sart, great picture and honest reaction.and no, you are not so old!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:51 AM) : 

Scott, I'm sorry that you've had to defend yourself to this degree. This is your job. You travel and document what you see (generally for fashion, but broadly, visual inspiration is your bread and butter). This is your diary. You give us your perspective. So, if your reaction could be naive or cliche, that's fine; it's your honest reaction and that's what we all visit your site for!

SO, you holier-than-thou detractors. Get a grip.

Thank you Scott. It's a beautiful and well crafted photograph.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:08 PM) : 

pikake and headmistress,

Maybe this is how the Sart genuinely feels, he just writes about it badly.

It also feels a little less than genunine when we know he's going to fashion week to look at cuff-length etc.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:16 PM) : 

India is an independent country of more than a billion inhabitants. Triple the population of the US.

Many of these inhabitants are no doubt highly intelligent.

They don't need bloggers from the US or the West trying to solve their problems.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:53 PM) : 

Dear Sart,

Beautiful picture and yes this is reality in India( and a lot of other places in the world , even your own beloved NYC)but is it because you became more than a little numb over this images and these situations that you became very critical and harsh about the fashion event who invited you to India in the article in the Delhi Times of yesterday??

Please do not give the kids fruit or pencils or what ever but maybe try to do something in education ( a photography workshop in the slumbs?)

Show them that they can become something or somebody in the world even without the right education but with the right passion and ambition , look at yourself for example you came out of nowhere with your blog and it is fantastic from on day one.. thanks to your images but aswell thanks to all the people sharing their emotions and thoughts ..

The key word is " to share", to share thoughts with the people Sart instead of breaking down not only the organization of the fashion event but aswell the designers and therefor the factories and the normal people of india.

ouff this all sounds very moralistic but it need to be said.

Just be kind and respectfull and share knowledge as much as you can.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:17 PM) : 

Emily, if Scott Shuman has made you feel blessed when you regard your closet - more power to you.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:20 PM) : 

Anonymous 11:51

Yes this is Scott's diary. But he has opened it up for us to all look at. Brave move. He is inviting this sort of criticism. Like I said before but it didn't get published, he is not a blushing 13 year old with a diary under lock and key. He wants us to look.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:24 PM) : 

It seems everyone has an opinion and heated personal response to everything. And the internet, sometimes unfortunately, provides us with the anonymity and protection to post offensive hostile comments. Usually I skip reading the comments on your site because they are so filled with hostile responses to anything from world poverty to the "appropriate" pair of leather gloves.

Your work is incredible. Keep it up.


Blogger Julia said ... (1:49 PM) : 

I can't believe how many people are attacking you and your choice of photographs. At the end of the day, this site is free.

No one forces you visit or makes you pay to visit. If you disagree with the content, that's fine. But there is no need to attack any one or act like he's your personal photographer that shoots what you want.

I don't see the same people praising Scott when he takes an amazing photo. It's the nit pickers who like what they see daily and then run off and bitch about not getting what they expect. News flash: life is unexpected. Just like each outfit he captures, he doesn't expect anything and when he finds what he wants, he shares it with the world.

Photographers are creative people who capture what they like. We're not robots or do only what makes the viewer happy. If Scott felt the need to share this image, then it's important to him. Just as important as some editor or hipster that has great style according to him.

If you don't like it, start your own blog. Don't tell him to start something else or to censor himself because it's not what YOU want.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:05 PM) : 

Wow. This is a terrible, thought provoking photograph. And -- people need to lay off and direct their anger in a productive fashion. This is Scott's blog, not the happy pill you paid for. Thanks Sart for your as-always honest commentary and images. I hope these commenters aren't deterring you from continuing to do what you do so well.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:28 PM) : 

If Scott is enough of an exhibitionist to share his photos and his thoughts then he must take the good with the bad.


Blogger sugarxnspice said ... (2:55 PM) : 

This is what keeps me coming; because there's more to life than fashion alone. And because you were more than superficial to see that, your blog makes me coming back for more everyday.

Keep up the great work, Sart.!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:00 PM) : 

I wonder what's in the cup.

-- desertwind


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:23 PM) : 

This blog goes beyond the subject of fashion. Yes, the main idea is taking pictures of individuals in interesting outfits. But what makes these photographs interesting is that we are able to view the clothing in the context of the individual and his/her environment. The clothing really is interesting only because of how the individual wears the clothes. So, really, this blog is more about people than anything else. It is only inevitable that the photograph of the little girl is to be shown here.

So for those of you who want to see strictly fashion, deal with what is posted here, or go to another blog. This is not your blog, it is Scott's. You cannot tell him how to do his job. This blog speaks to more than just fashion, and if that's all you were able to see before, then, that's a shame.

Also, just to note, I am tired and disgusted at the neverending comments (not just in this blog) that images of people in poverty should stick to National Geographic.


Blogger la femme said ... (4:29 PM) : 

I think about these kids every day.


Blogger Asi Mod said ... (5:11 PM) : 

Leave Sart alone.

It's his blog and he can damn well post any photo he likes.

If you don't like the photo, move on to the next one.

Oy vey!


Blogger KT said ... (5:29 PM) : 

It is a beautiful photo. its a shame so many people have been so nasty in their comments, but at least you know you have gotten under their skin, and they are Thinking. I think that's the point of great art...
I grew up in WV and went to school w children of millionaires and children who lived in homes w dirt floors, and the disparity was hard to really comprehend.
We all need to be challenged. Thank you. I love your site. As my dad always says, don't let the bastards grind you down.


Blogger Patagonia Community said ... (5:58 PM) : 

Surprised by the criticism you're facing on this one. I saw the picture and read your comments and thought, "I'm glad that he/we are not so lost in fashion that we forget about real life."

Wouldn't it be worse if this photographer known for snapping photos of people on the street went to India and DIDN'T snap a photo of real life but brushed by it while only looking for someone wearing a cool outfit?

If you hadn't posted the picture and comments, I guarantee people would email you and say, "I can't believe you went to India and didn't say anything about the poverty."

To add to that, the critical arguments that people are shooting at you are weak, weak arguments. Among them: implying that unless you can solve the problem of national poverty you shouldn't put a picture and comment up. Ridiculous.

Best wishes Scott.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:24 PM) : 

Wow, so many commentators feeling so good and superior about themselves because they "know" what the real world is like, while Sart is just another naive gringo. I bet you superior types don't know what's going on in your own backyards. Give the man a break. Stop the hate-- it doesn't help.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:32 PM) : 

"privileged white people are always so shocked and awed"

As a privileged white Brazilian I can assure you that 'privileged white people' are NOT always shocked and awed. Have you ever visited Brazil? Argentina? Chile? Venezuela? Mexico? Peru? Colombia? ... South Africa? Kenya? Zimbabwe? Lots & lots of 'privileged white people' - very little shock, it's part of everyday life.


Blogger Roberto Noensie said ... (7:26 PM) : 

please send this picture to national geographic


i've never experienced such palpable emotions from a picture


Blogger Susan said ... (7:40 PM) : 

Hello Scott/Sart,

I was reading through the comments & I couldn't finish them before I was infuriated at the people judging your motives/actions for posting such a picture. I applaud you for risking all this backlash and posting up something that will make the world more aware of what is going on in the world outside the comfortable U.S. Yes, we have poverty within the U.S. but it does not compare to that which is going on outside the world.

I was particularly moved by this picture b/c I have visited India twice in the past for a month each & I was overcome and experienced this numbness you mention. People commented that they hope u gave the child money, but honestly, I hope you did not. I've witnessed it & seen that these children are sent out by pimp-like men and sent to beg/dance etc...only to have their money taken from them...basically child slavery. The suggestion to buy fruit/drinks and hand them out is a much more effective way to help on a small scale. Many of the people commenting don't seem to realize the enormity of the situation in India. I believe I've heard that India now has the fastest growing population rate and I'm sure you've witnessed that in the crowded streets of Delhi. But as you drive around, I'm sure you've passed by the vast slum areas where families are living in tin shacks next to sewage each day. The poverty there is unimaginable & as someone who works w/ people on welfare in the U.S. I know that we have people who are poor in the U.S., but you cannot compare them to people who are poor in India. There is no comparison.

I applaud you for posting this raised awareness, even through the negative comments. Now all we have to do from here is all find OUR individual ways we can help rather than condemning others & judging other people's motives...

It all goes back to the Bible (don't want to get religious on everyone here)...where it says that we ought to pull the plank out of our own eye before we point to the speck in someone else's.

Let's worry about doing our own part & let others worry about if they are doing theirs...

And I also applaud that you don't feel so limited where you must only post fashion photos all the time. I'm glad that you case use the fame that your blog has attained to bring awareness to significant causes such as these. If people are too shallow to say that you must post only fashion photos, they need to take a look at themselves in the mirror & slap themselves in the face for being so self-centered & shallow.

God bless & keep up the great work. I love your blog for the fashion inspiration you give me but also just for the amazing pictures. I look forward to seeing more great photos.

Sorry this was so long!


Blogger Alana in Canada said ... (3:36 AM) : 

It is a good lesson for man to step outside the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of significance, beyond that circle, is all he achieves, all he aims at.
--Nathanial Hawthorne.

Keep growing and changing.


Blogger Blaise said ... (6:05 AM) : 

It's interesting to see how people have the audacity to react in such a negative manner, and to actually attack Mr. Sart for his choice of photos, and of course they left their names anonymous..

FYI, this is still Mr. Sart's blog, so he could do whatever he wants to do with it..

I come from a third world country as well so seeing this child's picture is no shock for me, but yes it is sad. There are so many street children, asking for money, but if I give to one or a few, there are still many of them out there..


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (7:20 AM) : 

for Anon 12:26 am
If there is one thing I am sure of, it is the quality of this photo.
nice try though


Blogger Stephanie said ... (10:55 AM) : 

I'm a suburban mother-of-two in Seattle, WA and read your blog almost daily (believe me, I do try to ditch the Danskos once in a while...).

Today, while I drank my coffee, I read over the interesting comments for this photo. I just thought I'd let you know that I enjoy your blog and appreciate your humanity.

I have two daughters, who, when they wake, are going to get squished and squeezed by their mother. Yes, I think they'll be subjected to, like, one kiss every minute today...

Take care,


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:11 AM) : 

Good on you for standing up for yourself Scott!
You should have nothing but pride for your work,
and I admire your last comment.
All of the accolades that you have received,
as well as the amount of people your work
has touched, are only testament to how talented
a man you are.
I have nothing but praise for you!

Sincerely, a gushing fan


Blogger MaLady said ... (12:26 PM) : 

I am compelled to comment for the first time.

Thanks for being the type of person that takes a photo of the tragedy to share with others rather than being so numb that you refused to face her reality or, worse, being the nightmare-inducing monster she undoubtedly thought you might be.

I'm glad that you keep first things first- style is about humanity and life, not the other way around.


Blogger Candace said ... (12:34 PM) : 

What an amazing shot of this little from inside the really adds to the reality and sadness of the situation!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:56 PM) : 

It's amazing a simple photo could generate so much hate and negative comments. Sart is simply expressing his human side, if you can't appreciate it then move on


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:57 AM) : 

This blog might be about fashion, clothes & beauty, but you feel what you feel. Honesty and integrity are important regardless of the forum.


Blogger Jacq said ... (11:02 AM) : 

Blimey. The sense of entitlement from some people here is astounding. Yes, Sart's 'allowed' us to read his blog. That doesn't give us editorial control, people! He can post whatever he wants. If you don't like it, scroll swiftly on to the next picture - but I find the idea of 'oh, this made me feel bad so shame on you - I don't read your blog for serious comments' attitudes to be very funny indeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:51 PM) : 

For Anon 2:12 AM
You said, "That you could say that witnessing this human being leaves you numb - I think it's awful. "It was like that yesterday and it will [be] like that tomorrow" - because we let it. Because your response is numbness rather than something of use."

2:12 AM

I say: Tell us what to do then besides feeling our feelings of numbness. I see you signed as Anon. Do you have a solution of use?



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:55 PM) : 

Jacq. Right you are. The Sart's opened up his "diary" to us, yes.
His readers don't want editorial control- but if he wants to show us his pictures he should be tough enough to roll with the punches.

It's not the pictures, per se that I have an arguement with, it's his comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:01 PM) : 

Ah finally, the value of poverty rears itself. Puts into perspective how much one little Chanel handbag, or a product by any other fashion house -- or indeed 'fashion', has little value to people who are trying to survive their way through life in order to enable themselves to live it. Yet, one of those products is inflated in value and worth hundreds, if not thousands, in our western currency and are often just 'another' purchase until next season's. It would be a life-changing amount to a girl like her. We put so much emphasis on fashion that it's shameful.


Blogger Irides said ... (11:18 PM) : 

I think this is the first time I'm posting on this site.

And it's a bit late, but whatever.

The amount of self-righteousness that I see on this commentary is amazing, from the quality of the photo (which is amazing, by the way) to the criticism that the Sart even felt numb to begin with seems just... well, it's ridiculous. Numbness happens. It's one thing to know, as we do, that there is poverty and pain everywhere in the world. That kind of knowledge is semantic, objective, and doesn't prick the little bubble of a world that most of us live in. We are confined to neighborhoods and normality, while the Sart walks the world.

I'd think that if he saw this and just brushed past the girl to look for fashionably-correct beauty, there would be something missing in him. The Sart's numbness is a normal,heart-wrenching reaction that's close to being metaphorically punched in the gut with reality. It's just hard to react when you're stunned.

Oh, and the sneering and jeers from the comment that "you know it was like that yesterday, and it will like that tomorrow"? I think that most peoples' emotions got in the way from really understanding what Sart's learned from seeing these effects of poverty. All these anonymous commenters sit there, safely behind the objective computer screen, talking about how this sort of comment is pathetic and that it should call for action rather than a paralyzed numbness. How very sanctimonious of you. The fact remains that poverty is broad, very, very broad. It might not be these children, whose lives may be dramatically changed by some charity who had noticed their pains, but another family, another man, another child, ignored and shivering in some dark corner of the Earth. What is to be done with them? Should they be scoured out, and showered with charity as well? And how?

There is only so much one man--or Man--can do. Besides, there's something to be learned from this. Even the awareness that things like this exist highlight and make bright the beautiful things Sart shows us daily, without fuss. You need a little rain to appreciate the sunshine.

Thank you, Sart. And shame to some of you, who look at this and assume that it is beyond a normal man's capability to capture in his best mode of expression.


Blogger Kelly said ... (1:19 PM) : 

Obviously, I'm quite late in posting a response to this picture which has evoked strong emotions and convictions of many diverse opinion. And I think perhaps that is part of what's accomplished by the viewing of such a photo. Didn't many of us feel stirred to make a difference? Didn't it provoke discussion, some of which could be viewed as enlightening?

For the record, I appreciate the opportunity to view Scott's work in all it's various forms.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:04 PM) : 

Enough of this sanctimonious clap trap. It’s just a fact. Many places in the world contain pockets of poverty.

America has neighbourhoods in Detroit and East LA.

Some of Canada’s Native Reserves are grindingly poor. Vancouver’s marginalized Lower East side has its addicts.

London, Paris and Naples all have slums. In Australia you can find poverty in its aboriginal communities. Most cities have prostitution, legal or not, males and females. I’m sure right around the corner from 5th Avenue.

India’s case is extreme in part due to its huge population. However, one doesn’t need to go to India to see poverty and be “numbed” by it.

I don’t care what the Sart photographs, but I worry he wrote this because he thinks that’s what we want to hear. An atonement of sorts. Whatever his reasons, it’s patronizing.

Many of these reader comments strike me as a Disney-fication of real life. Remember India has a culture that goes back thousands of years, has a population of a billion and really doesn’t need sympathy from the West.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:54 PM) : 

Did the girl come up to your cab while stopped or did you stop to take her picture?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:19 PM) : 

When I first saw this photo, I too, thought she was selling herself. When I saw that you had written she was a dancer, my heart lightened a little. Many people in our western world would love to be able to dance for a living, but due to body shape, or NOT having money, we are unable to. So, indeed, welcome to the world. There are children who sell their bodies, she's relatively lucky in an unlucky world. Look in your own backyard if you want to see a sorry state. There is a saying that says something to the effect of "clean your own backyard before you try to clean your neighbours." I suggest that while it is healthy to be moved by this, we all look after our own backyard before going into our neighbours.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:19 AM) : 

Those who condemn Sart for his natural emotional response to such poverty leave me more than frustrated.

He is a human being. With emotions. Sart has probably felt that he CAN expose his thoughts--those that do not pertain to a smartly placed button or a sprig of cotton-candy-blue-hued hair--without receiving such heartless criticism. For once, I guess he was wrong.

What do you expect him to feel besides numbness? Wouldn't YOU feel that same way--we are all aware of poverty's existence somewhere far beyond the fat bubble that is our own world, but when it stands RIGHT AT YOUR WINDOW the feelings that ensue are no doubt characterized by heart-wrenching sadness.

I've been to a third-world country more than five times throughout my short life (17 years) and I KNOW what feelings such harsh reality can welcome.

Have any of you even stepped beyond the boundaries of your safe "lives"?



Blogger manus said ... (11:54 PM) : 

Nice, really nice look.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:51 PM) : 

"What does it matter if half the time a poet fails in his effort at expression! The failures make real. The act of attention is not so easy. It is much easier to write poesy. Failure is part of the living chaos. And the groping reveals the act of attention, which suddenly passes again into pure expression." d.h. lawrence


Blogger Kanani said ... (2:45 AM) : 

I traveled alone while I was in India. For weeks, I was surrounded by children --one enterprising boy decided he'd be my package carrier one day. Another time, someone else helped me get back into the guest house where I was staying as it was late (I'd been at an internet café). I'd seen the beggars, had been told not to give to them. It was impossible to ignore them --sometimes they'd sell cheap trinkets. The very last day, I took all the change I had and leaned out of the cab and gave it all away. I loved the smiles, but like you, felt numb because there were so many --and unrelenting score.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:28 AM) : 

That's an amazing picture it's sad and real but beautilful at the same time. Those kids have to future at all. I live in a city called Recife (Brazil) and there are more than 2 kids on every traffic light juggling in front of the cars that stop on the red light. It's like we are watching a weird circus performance. When they are done they pass by the cars asking for money. It breaks my heart to see those 4 years old trying to keep the balls or sticks in the air.


Blogger rachhh said ... (3:48 PM) : 

this is beauty.
and you're a saint for recognising it.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:47 PM) : 

Dear All,
This is part of New Delhi life and though not fashionable... kudos to Sart for not closing his eyes, however painful it is to see these images. Go to "Born into Brothels" and to help.


Blogger Jon said ... (11:55 AM) : 

This image might not belong on Sartorialist, but its a decent attempt to show how most of the world lives.

The clothes on even one person that Sart photographs would feed a family for over 3 years...thats just the reality of global disparities in wealth.

What I am most shocked by are people's reactions to the photo. You all need to WAKE UP. You live in a world where this same girl dies everyday. She is invisible, yet there are MILLIONS of her.

Give responsibly. Go and visit developing countries. Educate yourself.

None of us are more or less important to this world, to beauty, to prosperity than this little girl.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:12 AM) : 

I believe I saw the same girl when I went to ND last January.
She being pulled in by a rickshaw driver, it scared the hell out of me. My aunt was screamin from across the street, which scared him off, but still the very image still haunts me till this very day.
I might not say I am privileged, but at least I still have the ability to enjoy beauty.
This picture reminds me of that.
Thank you.


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