The Candy Men: meet the candy floss sellers of Mumbai

Despite often containing banned toxic chemicals, candyfloss remains a popular treat in Mumbai. Photographer Jon Enoch captures portraits of the vendors adding bursts of pink to the city streets

Independent Staff
Friday 20 May 2022 15:18
Comments

Across the Indian city of Mumbai, candy floss remains popular for those looking for an affordable treat as the country emerges from a gruelling series of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

Photographer Jon Enoch’s newly-released series shows the candy floss vendors who live and work in the western sprawl of Mumbai, near 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 both Bollywood stars and the country’s financial centre. India’s recent economic expansion is 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, who won the prestigious Smithsonian award 2020 for his images of Hanoi motorcycle delivery drivers, said: “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!”

You can find more of Jon Enoch’s work here

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in