Oh India: Tenderness, Chaos and Supporting West Bengal

Oh India is a fundraising travel photography project which developed through my desire to give back to the country that gave so much to me: India.

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.

@thomasjamesparrish | thomasjamesparrish.com

The Lowdown

Pre-order Oh India here. Proceeds from this PhotoBook will be donated to Kaikala Chetana, a community-run, volunteer-based education program for India's rural poor in West Bengal

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