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kathmandu glue
November 10, 2009 4:52 PM   Subscribe

KATHMANDU_GLUEnsfw // Frankie Nazardo set out to capture the glue gangs of Kathmandu.
posted by nitsuj (31 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting photo set, but I would've appreciated some more contextual information here. (What the hell do I know about Kathmandu or their glue gangs?)
posted by ford and the prefects at 5:17 PM on November 10, 2009


Context provided in the second link. What an appalling story.
posted by bearwife at 5:18 PM on November 10, 2009


"glue gangs," eh?

Back in the day in the midwest we used to call 'em 13 year-old rascals behind the tool shed.

kids these days.
posted by Lutoslawski at 5:25 PM on November 10, 2009


all the kids want something to do
posted by porn in the woods at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The other hipster-Vice-style photos at Frankie's site don't do much for his credibility. It's a provocative story, and the faces are chilling - but the photo-essay ends up feeling more like someone's little Extreme Livin' project.

I remember being approached by kids in Sarajevo with this crazy look in their eyes. They were crowding me, asking for money. Later I joked (uncomfortably) with a friend about their being "feral". The memory has haunted me for a long time. I wonder now if perhaps they were on drugs - I had never considered it. They were so young.
posted by Marquis at 5:33 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yikes. Not just to the glue set, but to all the sets. Dirty, graphic, violent, scary... yeah. He's a good photographer for making me feel like I need to take a shower after seeing those photos, I guess, but damn if I wish I hadn't clicked that link.
posted by Bageena at 5:34 PM on November 10, 2009


Toluene is a narcotic tree sap.
posted by hortense at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2009


I remember being approached by kids in Sarajevo with this crazy look in their eyes. They were crowding me, asking for money.

Psh, I've had this happen in the US a few times. Fewer kids though, at gas stations out in the middle of nowhere. Also, homeless parents using their children as sympathy props. So damn depressing. Thank capitalism.
posted by peppito at 5:55 PM on November 10, 2009


Okay - thank you, capitalism.

Why am I thanking capitalism?
posted by item at 6:13 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank capitalism.

These photos are of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, a country that is currently ruled by communists and previously was a monarchy.
posted by brain_drain at 6:34 PM on November 10, 2009


I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:39 PM on November 10, 2009


"glue gangs," eh?

Back in the day in the midwest we used to call 'em 13 year-old rascals behind the tool shed.


Yes, but those "rascals" didn't muscle out other kids for prime begging turf behind your shed. These kids are gangs because they band together and prevent other beggars from going into areas where tourists toss money at them.

I'm rather naive and when first seeing the wording of the post I thought this was going to be about some kind of mafia-like cartel in Katmandu that monopolizes glue production. I wasn't expecting trashed kids huffing glue next to a bloody wall.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 PM on November 10, 2009


Ugh.. Oh, I'm sorry. Forgive me Saint Milton Friedman for I have sinned, in saying anything bad about capitalism. I pledge allegiance to the pyramid scheme of America and the inequity for which it stands: one nation, under Ayn Rand, indivisible with liberty and justice for those who can afford it, Ahhhmanson. Foundation.
posted by peppito at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Glue. Jenkem. Huffing paint and petrol. It's pretty fucked, being on the streets looking for a cheap/free high to distract you from your distressed surroundings - these drugs make crystal meth look positively wholesome.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:55 PM on November 10, 2009


Yes, but those "rascals" didn't muscle out other kids for prime begging turf behind your shed. These kids are gangs because they band together and prevent other beggars from going into areas where tourists toss money at them.

yes i know. i keed i keed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:00 PM on November 10, 2009


How many different kinds of drugs came through Kathmandu during the 1970s as hippies followed the trail along Freak Street?
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:20 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


These photos are of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, a country that is currently ruled by communists and previously was a monarchy.
Hardly that simple; Prachanda resigned as Prime Minister in May after only a couple of years of a regime that power-shared with a Congress President and the conflicts with the latter over the appointment of the head of the army are what precipitated the present crisis.
Not claiming to be more than an occasional observer of Nepali politics, but you might ask yourself about the kind of social conditions that lead to the popularity of a movement as militant as the CPN(M) (and recall that aside from them and Congress the third largest party in the Nepali parliament is another communist one). Not because the monarchy was all sweetness and light, you suspect.
posted by Abiezer at 7:55 PM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


One of the saddest things I've seen on MeFi in a long time, not only for the documentation of these kids' suffering, but also for the exploitative nature of this and the rest of Frankie's work.
posted by not_on_display at 7:59 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This photo set is good, but the same subject is covered better by Children Underground. It's an amazingly sad documentary.
posted by krisak at 8:02 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Interesting but could use a couple more links to flesh it out- is this an established subculture? Are there many groups like this? Where are these children from? Is there a particular social or economic background many of them have in common? The photographer spoke to a few of them, but I'd like more depth. The photos and the article make me feel that he may have had motivation for this, but not necessarily the best of intentions or talent or methods of going about things for such an assignment. He tried, but he could have done far better.

The photographer jams his frame of reference into every descriptive caption, i.e. Kale struck me as the most sensitive of the group. What was there about him that made him sensitive besides being quiet and civil? There are many photographers around (amateur and professional), so I'm curious to see comments on the photography.
posted by variella at 8:14 PM on November 10, 2009


In Latin America, where two-fifths of the earth's 100 million street children live ,inhalant abuse, particularly glue-sniffing, is pandemic.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:59 PM on November 10, 2009


LIFE Magazine: Japanese hippies sniffing glue. 1969. 1, 2
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:09 PM on November 10, 2009


Even the second link lacks much context. The most insightful part is only brushing on an important piece of the puzzle:
DD: Did they actually describe to you what it feels like to be under the influence of glue, and what they get out of it?
Frankie Nazardo: Yeah, basically when it’s winter, you don’t feel cold, you don’t feel hunger, and you feel like tipsy, and I don’t know, you have a funny feeling basically, and the more you do it, the more intense the feeling gets. At night it was quite scary to see their faces – they were very different from what they looked like during the day.
In Nicaragua, it was explained to me that the street children huffed glue because it killed hunger pangs and was cheaper than food. The kids there didn't exactly seem to be enjoying it, and they weren't all violent thugs, either (maybe they have violence-inducing glue in Nepal). They were fucking up their brains because it was the "best" way they knew to temporarily escape from suffering.

One night, I was sitting in a park talking with a friend. A small girl came by, begging for money, and I turned her away. Later, she came back. She stood in front of me, facing me, just a few yards away. She looked me in the eyes, held a small plastic bag to her face, and started huffing glue. I can't read minds, but ... damn.
posted by whatnotever at 10:26 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not that there is likely to be any doubt, but just for the record I want to make it clear that glue and other organic solvents are strictly haram.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:34 AM on November 11, 2009


Speaking as a serious amateur/pro-for-gas-money photographer, I don't think the photos are very well done. They're not terrible, but there's also little in the way of consistent style (some black and white, some colour), there's no immediate rationale behind the sequencing and technically they're poor - blurred shots without being intentionally blurry, etc. Subject framing is also rather poor - especially the bed shots, and the street shot of the gang of kids. He needs an editor and a good Canon 1-series (or similar) DSLR for low-light high-ISO shots (also conveniently doubles as a self defense weapon). Tragically, it looks like he's using film to propagate some sort of misguided hipster aesthetic- it really has no place in this sort of work unless you're a Jedi.

Ultimately, though, the biggest problem is that there's no story. We're all aware that poverty sucks in innumerable ways. Why is this one different and/or more shocking? The photos should tell this story without the strange narrative he feels he must add. There's no solid story (especially when considered without the text).

When photographing children it's often a good idea to get down to their level. Shots from your normal perspective may work in certain situations, but it tends to add bias to the context - the viewer is aware of the photographer's presence. This might be intentional here, but I don't think they are. These things might be difficult to think about when you're being swung at by a glue-addled kid, but pro photographers go through much more than getting hit by 8-year-olds to get decent shots.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:46 AM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


twoleftfeet, thank you for the LIFE images.
posted by whatzit at 2:40 AM on November 11, 2009


Why is that link marked nsfw?
posted by ryanrs at 4:42 AM on November 11, 2009


ryanrs: probably because of the semi-nudes (breast-al area alert) in the 'girls i like' link.

yes; background would have been nice for this pictorial to help put it into context.
posted by msconduct at 5:35 AM on November 11, 2009


I think I'm going to Katmandu,
That's really, really where I'm going to.
If i ever get out of here,
That's what I'm gonna do.
K-k-k-k-k-Katmandu,
To take some photos of kids and glue
If i ever get out of here,
I'm going to Katmandu.
posted by dubold at 6:23 AM on November 11, 2009


Some Laughter in Nepal photos (self-link)
posted by blueberry at 6:05 PM on November 11, 2009


I was in KTMDU last year, a lovely town really and super nice folk, but yes, with lots of poverty as well. I always get disheartened with photojournalism like this....
posted by slipperystar at 8:52 PM on November 12, 2009


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