India is a Street Photographer’s Dream

India is a Street Photographer’s Dream

am fortunate to have travelled to India three times, and each
visit has been as diverse as the last. The first was to scatter my
grandmother’s ashes, during the second I travelled for over six
months on my own, and I spent my most recent trip with my fiancé.
India is a country that is, at times, incredibly challenging and
I’ve always believed that it’s because of that I’ve continued to

One city in India that is particularly special to me is
Varanasi. I spent three months documenting the local communities
living in the old city, focusing in particular on the families
responsible for arranging the public cremations on the banks of the
River Ganges. While Varanasi is an astonishing place to visit and
photograph, it is not for the faint-hearted – it’s a city that you
either love or hate. Here, the reality of mortality is laid bare,
with bodies being carried through the streets on stretchers towards
the cremation grounds. Light and incense smoke streams through the
winding streets during the day, and at night you will find the
Ganges lit by hundreds of candles floating downstream.

Walking the streets of a city alone with a camera is a
meditation for me. My intention is to transform a candid image into
one of intimacy and intrigue. Indian cities are paradoxical
environments which create the potential for the everyday scene to
become extraordinary. I always wait for eye contact with a
passerby… sometimes it never happens, but the beauty of street
life in cities is that the next photo is only ever moments

Emily Garthwaite is an award-winning British
photojournalist and a member of Street
Photography International
. Her photograph of a chained elephant
was a Finalist for Wildlife Photojournalist of The Year in the
Photojournalism category.

@emilygarthwaite |

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