Travelling through different continents and countries throughout the world must be one of the most amazing and exciting opportunities that one can have. To view and experience the diversity and reality of the world through your own eyes, experiencing the warmth and sometimes the hostility that you come face to face with only enriches your own personal life. Many people find themselves less fortunate and unable to travel and therefore can only envisage what these different cultures and geographical wonders offer through reading books, magazines and watching television. However, when one travels alone through unfamiliar territories there are often occurrences that bring to the forefront of your mind a memory of what you have left behind. I found this statement so paramount during my remote travels when I regularly came across the parents busily amusing or nursing their children and my thoughts would drift back to my own family back home in the UK. Again I found myself comparing the parent and child relationship in India with the relationship back in the UK and the western countries. As children busily played around me, not a care in the world, the most important and immediate fixation being the game they were currently involved in. I thought about how we had become so overly protective to our children in Europe due to the many dangers that lurked in the background. Do we allow our young ones to have the same freedom I see in India to develop their own character, or are we so busily over protecting them that we are constricting their natural development by unintentionally modelling them into our own vision………
As like many of my experiences travelling throughout India, I was taken aback as I watched many mothers engaged in their daily work and chores, often with a small child strapped to her body. I marvelled yet again at the strength that these women portrayed. One of the women I met whilst travelling through Araku Valley, continued to breast feed her baby at the same time continuing to carry her heavy laden basket. She spritely continued her journey to the local market no evidence of tiredness or stress.
The tribal woman exuded love and affection as she hugged her child closely having stopped for a moment to rest from her chore of grinding the maize. As I discreetly observed the engagement between mother and child I couldn’t help but think about my family 5,000 miles away, the love between a mother and child is so surreal at times. During all my trips so far, the evidence of true maternal feelings between such a small person and their mother shone everywhere. The closeness and importance of family life in Incredible India was unmistakeable.
As I continued my travel through Rajasthan, I continued to witness the maternal love spread for all to see, these dignified young mums dressed their children with pride. The child’s carefully thought out attire complimented the vivid yellow of the mother’s sari. They certainly stood out amidst the crowded market, as always a photographer’s opportunity not to be missed! I was already prepared with my camera sporting a 300mm zoom and happily clicked away at the wonderful sight of the baby wearing a striking green bonnet, a protection against the hot glaring midday sun.
I was becoming more intrigued with the envelope of love that surrounded the child and mother, often under such challenging conditions. There was not a sign of impatience as the children wriggled in their protector’s arms, although the struggle to continue with their chore yet maintain the necessary care of the baby was evident. As I continued on my journey I came across a village where the women were busily collecting their daily milk. The pleasant sound of the villagers chattering and laughing amongst themselves produced a soothing ambience. I quickly searched for a discreet advantage point where I could capture the moment through my lens. It wasn’t long before I was surrounded by inquisitive children, now I had a challenge trying to photograph the emotions of my subjects without being seen or disturbing them. It wasn’t long before the women forgot I was there and I continued to capture the moments that allows me to share the strength of these amazing women, ‘The Real Women of India’. Again I contemplated my own life and couldn’t imagine how I would find the strength and resilience that these amazing females exhilarated as they carried their child and milk churns at the same time.
As I mingled amongst the local people at the Gurgaon Market I was drawn by the beaming smiles that the mums exhibited as they went about their daily tasks. The young woman wearing her vivid orange sari had obviously made a great effort with her and the child’s appearance. The spirit of this young woman became infectious and instantly I felt my own spirits rise. As I clicked away I became aware of a woman sheltering her child in her beautiful sari, his little face peeking behind the material displayed contentment.
Again I started to evaluate the mother child relationship in India with my home country and although the bond of mother and child remains the same throughout the world the dictation of society and assorted cultures drives the way we deliver our commitment to our families. It is rare for a mother in the UK to have her child with her at work and indeed this is not encouraged. Many tasks would be conducted whilst the child is either at nursery school or when the child is asleep.
The relationship between the parent and child depicts true emotions and is certainly one of my favourite subjects to photograph. The passion is so deep and telling in their expressions, what better stories to portray through pictures!
You can read more about my perceptions and experiences and why I choose to capture the images that I do in my travels, in further editions of Asian Photography. Please visit my website www.ellejephotography.co.ukto see more of my portrayals