I have always been enchanted by the transcultural nature of travel photography. In 2012, I travelled to India and spent part of my time by the River Ganges in Varanasi. What I had imagined was somewhat akin to Utopia – a place where women would dance in brightly coloured saris and the aromas of spices would waft through bustling bazaars filled with exotic perfumes. However, these hazy contemplations were in stark contrast to the reality.
The India that I saw was unrelentingly harsh to the senses. The scenes were swathed in dust and layers of filth and poverty. The streets were filled with arrogant men, children approaching foreigners for money, open sewerage and litter, and the stifling pungent odour of pollution in the air. As a consequence, I found myself attempting to demonstrate through my photos a form of happiness and solitude with one’s simple presence in this world – something that I believe is often difficult to uncover with the complexities of a first-world existence.