Some people like to collect souvenirs like shot glasses, ash trays, or magnets from their travels. I like to collect photographs of different cultural, natural, and architectural subjects, and compare these subjects from my different travel destinations.
With a population of over 1.2 billion people, India is known for it’s congested cities, traffic jams, and chaotic traffic. But when you leave the urban areas of India, life changes – you go back in time.
India ranks second in worldwide farm output and farming accounts for about 50% of the workforce. India needs a large agricultural output to sustain its large 1.2 billion population.
When you travel to the agricultural areas of India, you will notice that most of the labor in the fields is done by hand. Other than a tractor to plow the fields, there are no other machines to plant or harvest the crops.
Aside from the lack of farm machinery, what makes the agricultural landscape of India unique for photographers?
Here are a few of my favorite characteristics that make farm photography in India unique and interesting.
In many parts of India (especially around New Delhi), there always seems to be a haze or fog. This can give an ethereal look to your agricultural photographs.
People in India often dress in bright colors, even in the fields. The bright clothing can provide a nice contrast to the green and brown colors of the crops.
As previously mentioned, there is little mechanical equipment including automobiles in the rural areas. Look for ox drawn carts, bicycles, and hand pushed carts in the dirt roads along the fields. Due to the low cost, motorcycles are also popular in rural areas of India. They make good subjects traveling along dirt roads.
Many families may not own vehicles. So look for tractors, trucks, and horse drawn carts transporting people into town like a taxi.
The brick kilns cast a shadow over agricultural India. The brick kilns provide the building materials needed to meet the construction demand fueled by India’s economic growth. The brick kilns are surrounded by stories of bonded labor, violence, and child labor.
The brick kilns also make good photography subjects especially when the photos are given a dark, sinister feel. This also helps to tell the story about the abuses that occur in the brick kilns.
Written by Martin Belan