The face of poverty: Intimate portraits of Indian paupers reveal what life looks like when you live on just 33p a day

  • Roberto Pazzi, 42, who works a day job as a sales manager, went to India to capture these pictures of its paupers
  • Subjects included the Sadhus, Hindu holy men who gather in the city of Varanasi on the Ganges to meditate
  • Also pictured are street vendors and beggars from India’s largest citries who survive on just 33 pence per day

Faces furrowed with wrinkles well beyond their years, smeared with a mixture of religious pain and dirt, this is what poverty looks like for millions of Indians who often survive on as little as 33 pence per day.

From Hindu priests making holy gestures while clothed in brilliantly coloured turbans, to grey-haired women begging for change on the streets, these stunning portraits were captured by Italian photographer Roberto Pazzi.

The 42-year-old spent three weeks in the Asian country photographing people of all ages in the suburbs of a number of cities, including New Delhi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and Kalkota.

Roberto says he was captivated and humbled by his subjects, who live in a country which, according to the World Bank, has 179.6 million people struggling to survive below the poverty line.

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The poorest of the poor: Photographer Roberto Pazzi captured these images of villagers from India who survive on as little as 33 pence per day, including this elderly woman from Jaipur (left) and this man (right) who is a Sadhu, a holy man of Hinduism, from Varanasi


Roberto took around five photographs of each subject, aiming to perfectly capture their features.

He says: ‘I always approach my subjects with a smile, which I believe is the best ‘business card’ that you can show someone. They’re always so amused, and often share stories of their lives with me- which is amazing.

‘I always feel quite emotional when taking portrait photographs, and worry that I won’t capture exactly what I would like the photograph to portray.’

On average, people living in India’s suburban villages survive off just 22.42 rupees per day, which is the equivalent of just 33 pence.

Roberto says: ‘Photography reminds me that the simplest things in life are also the most important ones. I really hope my photographs reflect this philosophy.’

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