7 Billion Humans | Urbanization: Urban Crowds at Churchgate Railway Station | Mumbai, India

Urban Crowds at Churchgate Railway Station | Mumbai, India

Urban crowds in Churchgate Railway Station in Mumbai, India. By 2030 60% (4.9 billion) worldwide will live in cities.

Crowds come off the trains in the morning rush at Churchgate Railway Station in Mumbai. This used to be the easiest place to photograph because of a lunch counter with open windows right over the station where photographers and others could freely come and go.  Unfortunately, Churchgate was the site of a terrorist bombing in 2006 and afterward, the lunch area was transformed into one of the most secure anti-terrorist offices in India.  After many weeks of trying to get in because my editor said this was the scene they wanted for the lead for the 7 Billion story in National Geographic Magazine, the officials said if I was Indian they would let me in. I am not Indian, but my fixer is. So after hiring someone else to go to government offices for a solid three weeks, we got permission and I sent my fixer up to the anti-terrorism offices with my camera and framing instructions, and I sat in a van we’ve hired that has the movie “GI Joe” blaring in Hindi from the van’s onboard DVD player. The same runner who has been going to offices for three weeks shuttles cards back and forth from my fixer to me. I put the cards in another camera, look at the framing, exposure, lens use, and send back instructions to make the photograph better.  After about 4 hours we have this photograph, and a small victory over Indian bureaucracy. National Geographic Magazine never used the photograph.

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