sébastien cuvelier



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SLUM SMILES (2010)



In the context of my volunteer work with Virlanie Foundation in the Philippines, I had several opportunities to visit people living in some of the most terrible areas of Metro Manila. I spent time with inhabitants of Estero, Tondo and Payatas, who welcomed me to their slums and did not hide anything from their very peculiar way of life.

Every time I visited one of these places, people tried to make me understand what their every day existence feels like, how they were born here or lost their cardboard house to fire or one of the country's several yearly typhoons. They took me into their cramped, dark and dirty living spaces. More importantly, they did it without complaining or crying for help, but rather with dignity and an ever-present smile.

This series of pictures is not intended to shock or ask for pity. It depicts every day life in a dumping site, on a polluted river or in a squat area where, despite living conditions below anything acceptable in the 21st century, people stay positive, look up to an elusive brighter future and never forget to display shiny smiles of hope.






























 

all pictures © sébastien cuvelier · please do not reproduce in any form without prior written consent