In 2007, for the first time in history, the world’s population was more urban than rural. At the same time, one out of three city dwellers – one billion people around the world – lives in a slum. Where we live matters. Our place of residence determines if we have access to basic rights and services, if we are employable, even if we are fully human in the eyes of the society.
Photographs and text: Philippe Schneider
Where we live matters focuses on the residents of the Paga Hill slum, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. On 12 May 2012, some one hundred police officers armed with assault rifles and machetes descended on the slopes of the Paga Hill to demolish the slum and drive out its residents. This forced eviction was carried out to make room for Paga Hill Estates, an exclusive residential development project that would overlook the waters of the scenic Port Moresby bay.
I started this project to challenge the viewer’s perception of slum dwellers and to highlight the critical truth that, in whatever conditions people live, they all have the same basic needs, hopes and fears. I wanted to expose human faces of the Paga Hill slum residents, showing their personal stories rather than leaving them relegated to statistics, stigma and prejudice.
Philippe Schneider – born in France in May, 1967. After dabbling in student activism whilst completing a Bachelor of Arts and Communication at university, Philippe found his calling as a Humanitarian Aid Worker. He has been exposed to the spectrum of human existence whilst working in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Darfur. Philippe believes that the commentary of human experience can ideally be shared through the medium of photography and strives to create work that informs the social conscience.
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