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Instagram Photojournalism by @bhoepa

Instagram can be a good way to discover photographers all around the world. You may learn a lot from people posting their pictures.

At, we are always interested in featuring mobile photographers with a cause.

Jigme aka @bhoepa on Instagram has taken photographs from India and Nepal. On IG, he explains the stories behind them and tries to open a discussion with the reader. He acts as a photojournalist, witnessing a reality that forces us to question our own life.

Here is a moving series that Jigme posted on Instagram, called “India’s Hope: A Street Beggar”.
You’ll discover other series on his feed.

At the end of this blog post, Jigme explains his relationship to photography and how he proceeds.

“Editing photos for me is a form of meditation”. Jigme


India’s Hope: A Street Beggar (Part-1)

Fourteen-years-old Raja Chinnaswamy’s childhood has been tough to say the least but, after being coached at an Indian orphanage, he may soon become India’s first footballing megastar. This is his story in three parts. (photos are of street kids in Kalimpong)
Raja looks up towards the iron frame of the goal in the lee of the white-washed wall of the orphanage behind. He pulls back his right foot and lets fly, sending the ball hurtling past the goalkeeper and out through the gaping hole in the torn netting.
Eight years ago, when he first arrived at the orphanage in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Raja had never seen a football. Today he is a rising star of Indian football.
Born in Tamil Nadu in 1994, he was four when his mother was poisoned by her family for marrying below her caste. Hoping their luck would change, the boy and his father headed for the town of in Kerala, but quickly found themselves penniless and on the streets. With his father too ill to work, Raja turned to begging. (by Gethin Chamberlain for The Guardian) *่




India’s Hope: A Street Beggar (Part-2)

If Raja was lucky, he would make 100 rupees a day, but he was anything but lucky. Some of the other street children spotted him begging at the station. They told the gullible six-year-old they could get him a job and one for his father. Instead they took him to meet the boss of the local begging mafia, a man also called Chinnaswamy, behind a row of shops. The man threatened him and warned him against trying to escape.
He had to give 100 rupees a day or they would kill his father. If he tried to escape, he was told, the other children would inform on him. One day Raja failed to hit his target. His father was sick with a fever and he needed to care for him. Chinnaswamy gathered the other children round to watch, to make sure that they learned the lesson. The rod was heated on the stove until it was red hot. He burnt Raja’s legs and another scar to the left of one eye from where he was burned with a cigarette.
If anyone needed a break, it was Raja. Finally he got one. A friendly bookseller found him sobbing in the street and took pity on him.



India’s Hope: A Street Beggar (Part-3)

The kind bookseller knew of an orphanage where the boy would be safe. It was Raja’s good fortune that the Janaseva Boys’ Home was run by a former international athlete, Jose Maveli.
In a country which remains obsessed with cricket, the fact that a teenage boy wants to play football might be considered unusual enough.
It wasn’t long before his natural footballing talents were spotted by a couple of former Indian footballing internationals roped in by Maveli to lend a hand with the coaching. Raja was selected for the state football team: “I was happy and crying. Many of the players were crying because they had not been selected, but I was crying because I had.” Raja Chinnaswamy now stands on the verge of a call-up to the national team and his coaches believe he is a future international football star. *่Coming soon: Working on a story of people like Chinnaswamy*่ (see Part 2)



When asked about his relationship to photography, Jigme answers:

“I’m not a professional photographer nor did I go to school. Im just an emotional fool with a camera. But I thought I’d just share some of the processing and reduce to writing the editing madness to share with you. I normally take a close up, a far shot and a wide shot (that’s if I have a dslr).  With my phone I use the background and the light to my advantage. Rarely do I keep my subject in the center. Editing photos for me is a form of meditation. It does takes me back to when I took the photo- the story, smell, ambience,etc. I try not to duplicate any edits. I do not believe in consistency. Each face, angle and shot has its own story, composition and focus. I’m not trying to sound like an expert or a mister-know-all but photography is something I dearly care about. Photos and films always fascinated me. Growing up we couldn’t afford a camera nor had many photos taken. Most of my childhood and family are based on memories – the greatest photo bank. Now, I’m simply on a quest to exploit and push myself over it. I love living on my memories and recreating them in my photos. Every photo I edit is dear to me. They are now a part of my memory.” – Jigme.

Here is an overview of Jigme’s gallery on Instagram: