December 6, 2012
Photographer Simon de Trey-White recently photographed India’s Pushkar Mela which is one of the country’s most photogenic annual events, drawing onlookers from around the world. The event is regularly scheduled alongside the livestock market sited on the outskirts of the holy lakeside town of Pushkar. Involved are such events as camel races, moustache competitions, a tug of war between Rajasthanis and foreigners, dawn hot-air balloon rides, and pilgrims jostling alongside tourists. There are ferris wheels and amusement parks, handicraft shops and camel safaris. But at its heart, the essence of the Pushkar Mela is unchanged, says Simon de Trey-White, who spent a few days photographing the event.
“Over the years the Rajasthan Tourism department has revamped this traditional rural affair with the creation of an arena and a program of events designed to broaden its appeal,” he said.
“Diverting as these events can be, it’s the original desert camp and the camel traders that interest me, particularly at dawn and dusk when low-raking soft light coming though dust and cooking fires offers spine tingling opportunities to document scenes that have changed little in decades.”
Text and interview by journalist John Henzell
Picture editing by photo editor RJ Mickelson