The Other Hundred: A Pursuit of Societal Justice

By Jeremy Torr

Singapore, 16 February 2013. The list of media rich-lists is endless, but the rich are far from the only ones who deserve our attention. The Other Hundred is an initiative of the Hong Kong-based Global Institute for Tomorrow aimed at rectifying this popular but incomplete narrative. The Other Hundred will bring descriptions and images from those at the non-elite end of the social spectrum, but who are just as important to our planet.

The aim, says Chandran Nair, founder and CEO of the Global Institute for Tomorrow (GIFT), is to reach as far and wide as possible in terms of geographical spread for contributions. “We are interested in submissions from all corners of the globe, and are looking to attract both professional and amateur photographers so we can draw on a large pool of contributors with different perspectives.”

As Nair points out, we live in an era of information overload, where the click of a mouse will bring up hundreds of studies on poverty, thousands of images of starving children and a myriad of articles to get lost in. By contrast, The Other Hundred aims to be a serious but elegant package that immediately draws its reader in by virtue of its distinctive stories and thought provoking arguments, supported by powerful visuals.

Published as a book, The Other Hundred will contain 100 photo essays depicting both hardships and triumphs experienced by the extraordinary people that don’t make the media front pages. The inaugural edition will tell the stories behind the statistics: the farmer in Bhutan as she struggles to harvest her crop; the Mongolian herder slaughtering his herd before winter; the shipbuilder in Durham whose job has moved abroad; the mechanic in Maine who must decide between fueling his car or keeping the lights on at home.

As Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times wrote, “The Other Hundred is … designed to provoke thought and discussion about the future of economic progress and the root causes of the grinding poverty experienced by so many.” Due for publication in October 2013, the project will use images from world class photographers as well as from open submissions via the internet. Anybody can submit photos which will all come with a short written submission from the photographer about the subject’s story and its significance.

Submissions for The Other Hundred can be submitted at the project’s website where they will be used for publicity purposes and to serve as a guide of what the book’s editors are looking for.

As Nair says, poverty and inequality are problems not just in Africa and Asia, but on every continent. Globally, the richest 20% of people account for 80% of total income and in America, the world’s richest country, the bottom 20% of the population have just 0.3% of the wealth.

“We believe the time is ripe to engage the growing global audience seeking a look at the people behind the statistics,” he writes. “Social cohesion, alleviation of poverty and equitable prosperity are difficult but not impossible goals; progress can only be made if our society as a whole is informed and aware of the realities of the world we live in.”

Nair cites ineffectual governments, weak institutions and a misplaced faith in trickle-down economics as resulting in the crisis of capitalism we face today, but says The Other Hundred will be a part of the process of redressing the inequalities, serving as a platform for a more thoughtful discussion of the neglected majority.

The Other Hundred photos will each come with an accompanying 200-500 word essay, depicting the stories of the remarkable people from around the world who are marginalised by the media on a daily basis.

The annual publication will be released in conjunction with World Poverty Day.

“This is not an attack on the rich or the wealth creators,” notes Nair. “We simply believe that changing attitudes around the world … will make The Other Hundred a welcome and timely breath of fresh air.”

Photo credits: Khaled Hasan, Mikel Bilbao

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The Other Hundred is a not-for-profit initiative of the GIFT Foundation. Proceeds from the publication of the photobook will be donated to organisations dedicated to addressing social issues and inequality across the globe.