PROJECTS: GANGA MA
"If the Ganga lives, India lives. If the Ganga dies, India dies." Vandana Shiva
Ganga Ma is the result of a ten-year photographic journey along the Ganges, documenting the devastating effects of pollution, industrialisation and climate change.
The project follows the river for over 2,500 miles, from its source in the Himalayas in India through to its delta in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. The main character of this research is a non-human entity: a river. I decided to treat it as a human being and photograph the river as if he was documenting the life of a person. It was significant then, that in 2017 the High Court of the Indian state of Uttarakhand ruled that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, should be granted the same rights as individuals. The law was overruled by the Supreme Court, who declared it legally unsustainable, but it nevertheless constituted a landmark in redefining the relationship between human and non-human entities.
The Ganges is a powerful metaphor of the mankind conflicted approach to the environment, being intimately connected with every aspect - physical and spiritual - of Indian life. India’s hallowed artery has seen its water levels shrink and turn toxic, endangering the livelihoods of over 400 million people who depend on it for their sustenance, decimating countless species, and spoiling essential natural resources. It is clear that the river is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and an ecological disaster.