EuropeFeaturedStoryIndia; Pilgrims and faith by Olivier Borson

My interest for photography dates from my adolescence with my passion for astrophotography. I expanded my field of view and I began to photograph my surroundings.

My name is Olivier Borson, I’m 49, I live in Reunion Island, which is a small French overseas territory close to Mauritius and Madagascar. I’m working half time as a photographer, half time as a  Doctor.

My interest for photography dates from my adolescence with my passion for astrophotography. I expanded my field of view and I began to photograph my surroundings. As I used to travel extensively, I always took a camera and used to do lots of kodachromes probably stimulated by my readings in the National Geographic Magazine. I’m inspired by travels, cultures,  and large spaces which bring me naturally to do editorial and landscape photography.  I try to capture and show diversity and dignity, souls and culture of the people. It’s probably  helped by my ability  to have compassion for other people . In Landscape, I’m very influenced by Michael Kenna. What I love sharing is the beauty and poetry that can arise all around us. I also like to discover or rediscover  known places as something the viewer can not imagine. The encounters with other artists are also a way to open my mind and progress

I went for the first time to India 4 years ago, for a workshop with Steve McCurry. At that time, I did’nt know India and I didn’t realized this country was so fascinating. Their culture is so  different from ours that you can spend hours walking among them without getting tired, and  always be amazed by their traditions.

20 - Sadhus paradeBliss - AllahabadWoman praying - Details - Allahabad

I was in India this year to document  the  Khumb Mela in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) . I had to photograph everyday life in this  town : anonymous people, pilgrims, sadhus,  Gurus… everyone who is living, eating and working praying in this area located  between two of the most sacred rivers of indhouims the river Ganges and the Yamuna river .

It was a VERY big event. The authorities expected 100 million people during 3 months. This particular day when I took this pictures,  there were 20 to 30 million pilgrims who  expected to take a holy bath at the confluence of the two rivers.  Unfortunaly, I got lost and I did not manage to go at the hotest point where the sadhus took their bath. So I looked around me and I  focused my attention over the 20 millions of pilgrims that surrounded me. [Official Website]

From Steve I try to learn how to capture and look after a “fleeting, unguarded moment”. I try to find the interesting details, the uncommon action, the funny situation that can make my photos interesting. I try to show the details of life and capture a great moment or action.  Thus, sometimes, these people faces are so incredible that You can’t be indifferent . They are fascinating  and you can literally read  the experience of life etch on their faces. These are the different aspects I try to show through this work.

Women praying - Allahabad pilgrim - Allahabad.NEF Bath - Allahabad 7 - Women Dancing while waiting for the Bath and ceremony 8 - A face in crowd waiting for the parade Pilgrims Waiting for the processions - Allahabad 11 - A sadhu in the crowd 12 - a sadhu on his way back to his camp. 13 - In the parade little girl selling flower - Allahabad Bath - Allahabad 4 - Pilgrims Taking their Baths early in the Morning

4 comments

  • Avatar
    Suzi Moore McGregor

    Jun 7, 2013 at 04:05

    The images displayed are spectacular. I love the colors, people, and mood portrayed by the lighting. Excellent work.

  • Avatar
    janssens serge

    Jun 15, 2013 at 12:53

    Exemplaire travail de documentation,une approche très aboutie de cette photographie qui ne se construit pas sans une connaissance approfondie du sujet .Mes félicitation à l’auteur !! serge

  • Avatar
    Renee Robyn

    Jul 12, 2013 at 18:14

    These are absolutely outstanding. Incredible images, beautiful processing and I love the story they tell.

  • Avatar
    valerio de iorio

    Feb 19, 2014 at 02:11

    Dear Oliver, we share two things : be doctor and photo enthusiast ! i was in india too , for the second time last november, in the north from puskar camel fair ( fantastic) till Varanasi ( a real another world and trip through time and space ). i really appreciate your pictures specially considering the caos in which you get lost ! only the people who visit india and specificalli varanasi, could understood the athmosphere and the difficulty to take good pictures . so my best compliment for your work.
    sincerely,
    valerio de iorio, from Italy

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