The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
June 2016 issue
Beauty in Hell
by Tony Corocher
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Beauty in Hell: Beauty over Drama is an award winning, independent reportage and a personal photographic dream. The project objective is to find and document the beauty present in some of the most difficult, poverty stricken and dangerous realities around the world. In this particular case two of the largest slums in Nairobi: Mathare and Kibera (plus some photos in the refugee camps and missions around Kenya).
Through the streets of Mathare Slum (Nairobi). The contrast between the innocent beauty of the young girl, the vivid diffidence of the boy behind her, the finality of the desperation shown by the man on the ground and the indifference of the people passing by. This is the ensemble of feelings that runs through these slums every day.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this picture is, “Well, nice shot, but where is the supposed beauty?" The beauty is very hard to see here, but it is there. These children sniff glue, oil and solvents and eat from the garbage found on the streets. They are part of extremely dangerous street gangs and can be very difficult. The beauty may not be visible at first but it is there, in the situation, in the fact that I managed to get 20-30 of them together, to convince them to stay with me for a few hours, to trust me and viceversa, to tell me their stories and their dreams. The boy in the foreground is only 18... the other 2 around 15.
I ran into this little boy the first day in Mathare Slum (Nairobi). He was going to school and looked like he was wandering about the future. Behind him one of the streets leading into the slum. A strong element, and one of the things that stands out in this image is the contrast between the harsh environment and the label "Strong" on the boy's jacket.
This family was made up of 3 women (mother and 2 sisters)... the father disappeared a long time ago. These women take care not only of their own children (which are a few as you can see) but have also started a project to try to rescue the so called "Street Children" (see photo n.2). The 3 women provide them with 1 or 2 proper meals a week.
On the street of Mathare Slum, Nairobi. This woman is preparing a basic meal which will be sold to the people walking by. Most people (especially women) always find something to do to make a living. There are many women like this one, cooking or doing some other kind of activity on the streets of Mathare, Kibera and in all the other slums.
Come to church and "the knowledge of God Ministry" will save you from desperation! Welcome to Mathare!!! When I saw this man I immediately pictured him as someone who had seen it all, someone who knew that with or without religion there is no easy way out. Complete, total poverty pushes men to believe, just in order to have a little hope. Right or wrong, it is still a good thing in these desperate situations.
A young girl playing on the railway that runs through Kibera (the second largest slum in the world - Nairobi). All you can see in the background is Kibera with over one million people. While I was taking this picture my mind kept thinking about what kind of future awaits the African countries.
Here we are inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi, where people work using old tyres and rubber objects to produce shoes, tools and various other things.
Just outside Kibera Slum (Nairobi) a job that has nearly disappeared in the western world is a means of sustenance in these areas.
In the middle of Mathare (Nairobi) and between the garbage and the sewers a few kids were enjoying a game of football... around here every small thing is enjoyed fully.
Just as you enter Mathare (Nairobi) you run into this "recycle factory". These people spend their days picking up plastic bottles from the streets and then try to sell them by weight. They hang out around Mathare and try, like anyone else, to make a living out of whatever they can find.
This little girls caught my eye because of a really strong contrast... she was holding a classic symbol of western beauty inside one of the harshest realities in the world.
Inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi. People are working on the production of shoes from old tyres and other rubber recycled objects. This is where products are made, where the work is done and, normally, people are not allowed to enter here. This place is like a huge labyrinth of tiny shops and small businesses crammed together.
Inside Makadare, one of the largest markets/slums in Nairobi.
Back to menu