Florian Müller (Germany)

Fashion Victims - Other people’s clothes 

‘Clothes maketh the man’. But men and women who make the clothes for other people are often left behind. While India’s growing middle class is following trends, the greedy tiger is chewing its working class for the well being of economic prosperity. For a long time Ahmedabad was known as the Manchester of the Orient and still today the steam engines are running at the textile factories in the city on the SabarmatiRiver. Mahatma Gandhi once founded his ashram here. He sat at his spinning wheel and spread his ideas of a nation of equality, tolerance and non-violence. But today the Indian reality looks very different.

Stories can be told about child slaves at cotton plantations in rural Gujarat, as well as stories about people who wash dirty clothes for the wealthy. Those stories are far away from fair-trade or from the glamorous Bollywood. A lot of workers work double shifts to improve their salaries. Long-term health damage can be caused by negligent handling of chemicals and colours, or the lack of sunlight. The dust that occurs from the work with cotton will limit the lifespan of many workers. Poverty makes them work under unacceptable conditions.

But India is changing. The Indians say that India is developing. Slowly but surely. As long as corruption, bribery and greed steer this development, only a little of the economic prosperity will get where it is needed most. It is unclear whom to blame, but surely we have to take part of the blame ourselves as it is our ‘tight is right’ mentality that keeps the wages low.

Florian Müller, born in Germany in 1982, I started my professional career as a video editor at the age of 21 after a time of extensive journeys.

In 2007, I dared to take a step backwards from motion pictures to still images and started to study at the university of applied sciences in Hanover, Germany.

Following the tradition of humanistic photojournalism, I feel strongly committed to concerned photography and express my respect and empathy through this powerful medium. As good images take time and understanding, I like to work intensively on deeper-perspective projects to raise awareness and responsibility on specific social grievances.

My work - both, single images and stories - has been published in various magazines and newspapers and has been exhibited in Europe, North America and Asia. 

Exhibitions (Selection).

“Farmers of the Lagoon“, Group Exhibition “Perpignan - 12 facets of a City”, Hanover, 2010

“Brave Ideal Fetishworld” – Group Exhibition „Photokina meets Academy“, Cologne 2011

“Brave Ideal Fetishworld” and “Big Fish, Small Fish”, Group Exhibition “Explaining Mankind to Man”, Hanover, 2011

“Heimspiel” Project Exhibition “Hellfeld”, Hannover, 2011

“Big Fish, Small Fish“ Foodphoto Festival, Tarragona, Spain 2011

“Fashion Victims “, LUMIX Festival for young Photojournalismus, Hanover, 2012

“Fashion Victims” (Extracts), Ian Parry Scholarship Exhibition, Mother Gallery, London 2012

„From Hannover“ Group Exhibition with „Fashion Victims“, Visa pour l´image OFF Festival, Perpignan, France, September 2013

„Quite Conversations“ FotoVisura Group Exhibition with „Fashion Victims“, PhotovilleNY, New York, USA, September 2013

„Fashion Victims“ at the PhotoVisa Festival, Krasnodar, Russia, October 2013

„Fashion Victims“ at the Photocircle Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, November 2013 

Awards and scholarships

2010 European Newspaper Award with German daily Weser-Kurier (Bremen)

2011 DAAD-Scholarship „A new passage to India“

2012 International Photography Awards Honourable Mention for “Fashion Victims” („Editorial – Photo Essay and Feature Story“)

2012 Ian Parry Scholarship Finalist

2013 One Eyeland Awards: Bronze for Fashion Victims (Photo essay/Feature story)

2013 FotoVisura Spotlight Grant Finalist

2013 PDN Photo Annual Awards Winner with „Fashion Victims“ (Student category)

2013 The other hundred - Book project participant

2013 3rd Prize Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) - (Press - feature story - non-pro)