Even after visiting India almost 75 times, I still have only scratched the surface.
Rajasthan, India 1983
I was in a beat-up taxi traveling through the desert to a town called Jaisalmer on the India-Pakistan border. It was in June, and as hot as the planet ever gets. The rains had failed in this part of Rajasthan for the past thirteen years. I wanted to capture something of the mood of anticipation before the monsoon.
As we drove down the road, we saw a dust storm grow -- a typical event before the monsoon breaks. For miles it built into a huge frightening wall of dust, moving across the landscape like a tidal wave, eventually enveloping us like a thick fog. As it arrived, the temperature dropped suddenly and the noise became deafening. Where we stopped, women and children worked on the road -- something they are driven to do when the crops fail -- now barely able to stand in the fierce wind, clustered together to shield themselves from the sand and dust. I tried to make pictures. The road workers didn’t even notice me. In the strange dark-orange light and howling wind, battered by sand and dust they sang and prayed. Life and death seemed to hang in precarious balance.