Compassionate Storytelling

Bangalore-based award winning artist Ryan Lobo uses photography, film making and writing to tell stories. In 2009 Ryan spoke at the TED conference in India to a standing ovation about the power of storytelling.

Ryan recently worked on a film project “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” completed in 2010 about an African warlord’s search for redemption. The documentary feature film, which he co-produced won the best cinematography award at the Sundance film festival 2011.

In 2009 Ryan shot the story of Delhi’s intrepid firefighters. Onze weruld magazine and eye works television in association with TCS made a film on Ryan while he shot still pictures of the firefighters. During the shooting of this article Delhi’s firefighters put out a massive slum blaze during a riot where two of their trucks were seriously damaged by stone throwing crowds upset at the firefighter’s late arrival due to a traffic jam. Despite the hostility the firefighters fought the fire, some wearing motorbike helmets to prevent injury. People who had lost everything forcibly took over the hoses at times and narrow streets meant the firefighters had to connect hoses to reach the blaze hundreds of meters away, often running the gauntlet through angry crowds Here are a few pictures from the series:

Firemen react to an agry mob thats attacking their fire truck with stones in a slum. The truck was stuck in traffic and reached the slum fire late.

Angry Mob Photo

Angry slum dwellers jump atop a fire engine as it reaches a slum fire late due to heavy traffic. The men attacked and part destroyed 2 fire engines as they watched their homes go up in flames.

Delhi Firefighters

A factory fire provides challenges to firemen who are forced to drill holes in the overheated and unstable walls of the factory to get access to the flames.

A Fire in a Slum

Imtiaz stands over the ruins of his hut in a slum that was destroyed by a fire. The present population of Delhi is about 13.9 million*. Of this nearly 45% of the population live in unauthorized colonies and slums. Illegal wiring, narrow streets and garbage provide conditions for fires in summer temperatures that sometimes reach 50 degrees centigrade.

Ryan Lobo Photography

A sikh firefighter watches a blaze being fought. A petrochemical storage facility is on fire and surrounded by hundreds of barrels of explosive petrochemicals firemen rush to put out a blaze that could spread to surrounding areas. The situation here is very dangerous with drums containing explosive substances just feet away.

A fireman douses others with a chemical fire retardant as flames advance. A petrochemical storage facility is on fire and surrounded by hundreds of barrels of explosive petrochemicals firemen rush to put out a blaze that could spread to surrounding areas. The working situation here is very dangerous with drums contains explosive substances just feet away.

Fireman

A fireman walks past a bouganvillea flower bush as a fire rages in a chemical depot.

Ryan‘s images/writing have been featured in widely read magazines like Outlook Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, Time Out, National Geographic Magazine, The Boston review and Glamour magazine amongst others. His art prints have been exhibited all over India and Europe.

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