The Candy Men: Photographer Captures Candy Floss Sellers of Mumbai
Photographer Jon Enoch has released a set of portraits featuring candy floss sellers in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Never more popular than in the age of social media for some eye-catching likes, the pink sugar clouds are popular for those looking for an affordable treat as the country emerges from a gruelling series of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.
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Enoch’s series shows the sellers – the men who live and work in the western sprawl of Mumbai near the cotton candy selling grounds of the beaches and fairs and their unique and varied ways of displaying their goods and attracting a buyer.
Mumbai is India’s most populous city, home to Bollywood stars and the country’s financial centre. India’s recent economic expansion is unsurprisingly being stalked by a growing obesity and dental crisis. Lassi, fresh juices and home-cooked foods are being replaced with an explosion of cheap sugar.
Candy floss and brightly coloured Indian sweets have been found to sometimes use banned artificial food colouring, specifically Rhodamine B, which is a staining fluorescent dye, banned because it’s potentially carcinogenic and unfit for human consumption.
Enoch stated: “When I read that the desire to create the perfect eye-catching bright pink candy floss often leads to unauthorised colouring agents being added to the mix, I thought it’s the perfect metaphor for the ills of our time.
“My photography projects tend to capture a fast-changing world and how traditional aspects of a large city are changing – for better or worse – through the embracing of modernity.
“The images were taken at night time, partly due to logistics – it’s cooler and usually quieter – and partly because it gives me the chance to experiment with lighting and create a specific portrait of these candy floss sellers.
“However, I found it fascinating that in Mumbai, it was never quiet and it was hard to find a space that wasn’t crammed with people. Life just goes on – day and night!”
Jon Enoch is an award-winning lifestyle and portrait photographer and won the prestigious Smithsonian award 2020 for his images of Hanoi motorcycle delivery drivers, and was also nominated for the Sony World Photography Awards, Portraits of Humanity and The AOP Awards.