Rags to Forbes: This photographer once survived on people’s leftover food
He probably would have continued to live like that had a doctor not introduced him to an NGO called Salaam Balak
August 16, 2019 / 07:42 AM IST
Photographer Vicky Roy (Image: Facebook/ Vcky Roy)
Photographer Vicky Roy lives his dream now, earning himself a feature in Forbes Asia “30 under 30”. But, his journey was no cakewalk. The now-popular photographer has seen the darkest of days, doing dishes in dhabas and even picking rags.
His ascend to success was recently mapped by Facebook page “Humans of Bombay”, and it went viral in no time. The post has already garnered more than 25,000 likes and comments running in thousands. The story of the runaway, who left home at the tender age of 11 hoping to make it big in Delhi, struck the right chords with many.
Roy narrated how, when he reached Delhi, he had to sell water, sort garbage, and sleep in the open to make sure he did not starve to death. The photographer even had to eat other people’s leftover food when he was working at a dhaba.
He probably would have continued to live like that had a doctor not introduced him to an NGO called Salaam Balak, which works on rehabilitating street kids. “There life got better. I’d get 3 meals a day, clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. They even put me in school,” said Roy.
It was during his time at Salaam Balak that he met a British photographer who had come to visit the NGO. He was awestruck by the work of the British national, and it inspired him to take up photography. Having seen hardships and low life from such close quarters, he wanted to tell those stories through his photographs.
When he turned 18, the NGO authorities gifted him a camera, which eventually helped him land an internship with a local photographer.
Roy fondly remembers how the photographer helped him arrange his first exhibition, which proved to be life-changing. People noticed and purchased his work; soon he started getting invites from different corners of the world.