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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

I'm Madeleine Brand, and this is DAY TO DAY.

Coming up, it's been 50 years since James Dean died in a car accident. We'll meet fans who still come to the crash site to celebrate his life.

But first, to photography. We have an occasional series here on DAY TO DAY called Photo Op, where we speak with photographer Chris Rainier. Lately, Chris has been busy directing National Geographic's "All Roads Film Project." The project features images from international photographers telling the untold stories of their own homelands. You can see photos from the project right now on our Web site, npr.org, so you can follow along as you listen to this next story. Chris Rainier spoke earlier with my colleague, Alex Chadwick.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

There is one photographer here from India. His name is Sudharak Olwe. I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly.

CHRIS RAINIER (Photographer, National Geographic): That's correct.

CHADWICK: He has these pictures called "Man in the Hole 1" and "Man in the Hole 2." I'm looking right now at "Man in the Hole 2," and it's--well, it's an image of a man staring up from--is it a mud pit?

RAINIER: Well, actually, this is a project on the lower caste system, the untouchables that clean the sewer systems of Bombay, and his whole project is sort of about this blind spot of ignoring the social rights of these particular people that live in the sewers. They have to work day in, day out. They raise their families in poor, povertylike conditions. And so he's really opening a window to an area in India that most Indians really don't want to talk about.

CHADWICK: I would think so. I mean, this is--all you can see of this man is his head, his face looking somewhat grimly up. I hadn't realized he's buried to his neck in sewage.

RAINIER: It's correct. It's a very potent, powerful image.

CHADWICK: Here's another photographer and a different set of images. This is a woman from South Africa. Her name is Neo Ntsoma. It almost looks like fashion photography. There's an image of this young woman here in a club.

RAINIER: Indeed. Neo's a young photographer, and she speaks of the new South Africa. We're so used to images from apartheid or the AIDS issues, and she says, `Yes, that's a part of South Africa, but more importantly, the youth of South Africa are optimistic. They are working their way up beyond the middle class into the upper-class echelons of South Africa.' And she talks about the excitement of showing the hip-hop world of Johannesburg.

And I think this is really kind of what's going on in the world now. You know, we have these pre-concepts of the other cultures, but, in fact, they're very much like you and I. They wander around with cameras and note pads and curious about their own world, but yet, there's an essence. There's a sense of spirit that comes up through the body of work that you can tell that it's taken by them. There's a person, there's an experience there that comes from spending day in, day out within a community or a country or within a tribal group or in urban Johannesburg or downtown Bombay.

CHADWICK: Or Brazil. One more image. This is from Andre Cypriano. He's got a picture called "Baby," and this is kind of a medium shot. It's of a father, I think, and his son, and they're both naked, I think, or at least the man is shot from the waist up. He's not wearing a shirt. The baby is naked, and there's this line here, 'cause the baby's naked butt, the crack of that butt is perfectly lined up with the man's spine. It's strong.

RAINIER: It's very strong. In fact, I feel it's very iconic and it speaks of relationships between, you know, young babies and their father, and it also speaks of his larger project, which is the shantytowns of Rio and other cities in Brazil and these huge cardboard, you know, cities that are growing up not only in Brazil, but all over Latin America and, in fact, the whole world. And it's a very beautiful, tender photograph, yet in this sort of tragic situation of--caught in the barrios of Rio.

CHADWICK: Chris Rainier is the Photo Op contributor for DAY TO DAY. He's also director of the All Roads photography project, part of the National Geographic "All Roads Film Project."

Chris, thank you for being with us again.

RAINIER: It's a great pleasure. Thank you, Alex.

CHADWICK: And you can see these images at our Web site, dear listeners, npr.org. Go take a look. They're worth it.

BRAND: And that interview by my colleague, Alex Chadwick.

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

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