“I’ve often wondered why so many people give up their uncrowded country lives for an uncertain existence in an urban slum," says Ed Ray, the photographer who took this shot. "The chances of striking it rich are staggeringly small. So when I read a UN statistic showing that more people were living in cities than in the countryside for the first time in human history, I decided to have a look at what people really face when they come to a big city without any resources but abundant hope. I was working in an area of Jakarta where hundreds of very poor people raise their families in makeshift tarp and plywood homes within several feet of a busy railroad track. It's one of the few places where no one tells them they can’t live there. I had been working there for several days and was just on my way back home from the railroad tracks when I saw this young boy with his Spiderman mask sleeping against a wall on a cardboard box. For me, he embodied the answer to the question of why so many leave the countryside for big cities. Simply put, the dream of a better life is a stronger pull than the reality which consumes most people who come to the big city from the countryside.
Ed Ray's website