I spent six months travelling in the far reaches of North India, from the rainforests and tea stops of Singalila National Park in West Bengal to the mountains and monasteries of the Nubra Valley in Ladakh.
Inspired by my dad’s photography from the 80s – which brought extraordinary lands and people into the living room of my childhood home – my work explores the relationships between people and their environments along with the ever-pressing influence of globalisation and climate change.
The images transpired out of adoration and intrigue for what I witnessed. Combining the country’s tenderness and tranquillity with its unrelenting vibrancy and chaos, they offer an honest insight into India’s individuality, and I hope they encourage an appreciation and understanding of lives so very different from our own.
Upon my travels, I had the fortune to visit Kaikala Chetana, a community-run, volunteer-based education program in the rural Hooghly district of West Bengal, 50km from Kolkata. Founded in 1996 by local man Somnath, who turned his family home into a centre for learning, the program now offers free education to more than 800 children across 24 locations.
Inspired by Somnath’s inclusive vision and having witnessed first-hand the communal value of his work, the Oh India project was created to raise money through my photography and ensure the continuation of Kaikala Chetana. The project was first launched at a fundraiser exhibition in Sydney and has now been developed into a photobook following cyclone Amphan, which hit West Bengal during the peak of the COVID pandemic, destroying multiple homes as well as crops and agricultural equipment upon which the Kaikala village relies.
“I hope I can make a positive impact for humanity and the natural world.”
About Thomas James Parrish
Having recently completed his Diploma in Professional Photography at the Speos International Photographic Institute, Thomas is now based in London full-time. Following six years of international experience and embarking on a number of personal photographic projects, Thomas continues to be inspired by the events of today. He hunts for stories that resonate with his beliefs and stand up for injustices that would otherwise risk being disregarded. Thomas has had the opportunity to work on projects and campaigns with refugees, religious groups and environmental programs across the globe, and these images are driven by his passion for exposing environmental and humanitarian issues that still exist in this day and age. [Official Website]