In 2019, I went on a wild adventure travelling through Rajasthan in India. It was September 2019 and we had no idea what was around the corner. Merely four months later, we started to hear about the coronavirus first emerging in China. Fast forward to 2021 and coronavirus has changed the world as we knew it. India has been struggling for weeks, nay months with a second wave, which has sickened millions, killed tens of thousands and overwhelmed the nation’s health care system. At the peak of the crisis, new infections numbered about 400,000 a day – a record-breaking pace. Thankfully, infections are coming down but the ongoing impact of coronavirus remains. The loss of family members, income, livelihood, health, will have a lasting impact, particularly on women and children.
It’s for this reason that I created a fundraiser by developing a fine art photographic book of photos taken on my travels to India.
I’ve curated some of my favourite images of women taken on my travels below as a glimpse into their lives. I’ve been wondering throughout 2020 and 2021 how their lives have been impacted by coronavirus. They were so happy to have their photos taken and I see in them a great sense of pride, wisdom, stoicism, humbleness, humanity and friendship.
All photos © Kris Ashpole
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.”Gautama Buddha. p>
With India experiencing a devasting wave of coronavirus – a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions – I’ve been wondering what I can do to help a country I fell in love with on a whirlwind two-week adventure, traversing Rajasthan, visiting 11 cities in 12 days. India is a photographer’s dream and I took so many photos – literally in the thousands.
To raise much-needed funds to support India, I’ve turned some of my favourite images into a fine art photography coffee table book. The book is a tribute to the people of India and a celebration of this beautiful country.
I’m aiming to raise $5,000 to donate to the Sambhali Trust based in Jodphur to further their work. They’re providing much-needed food, face masks, medicines, counselling, mobilising the community for COVID tests and vaccinations, and supporting women and families in Rajasthan.
India currently has been called the “home to the world’s worst ongoing coronavirus outbreak”. The impact will be long-lasting.
“I don’t want anyone to appreciate the light or the palette of tones. I want my pictures to inform, to provoke discussion – and to raise money.”, Sebastião Salgado p>
About the Sambhali Trust
The Trust is an NGO focused on the development and empowerment of marginalized women and girls in Rajasthan. They work throughout Jodhpur and the surrounding Thar desert with women and children experiencing discrimination and violence on a daily basis due to economic, gender, and caste status. These women face extreme poverty and social exclusion – deprived of education, health care, and legal resources. Many lack any autonomy in their domestic lives, and face severe verbal, physical, and sexual abuse within their communities. At Sambhali, they equip underprivileged women with the tools to become financially independent, provide for their children, and establish self-sustaining communities of support.
Help support India and the Sambhali Trust by buying a copy of this book, which at just $39,95 (plus postage) would make a wonderful gift for upcoming birthdays, Christmas presents (nothing like getting in early) or a gift for yourself. 100% of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated.
Due to the Sydney lockdown, pre-orders have been extended to 9 July with delivery approximately 21-30 days after I order the books (which may vary depending on printing time). Pre-order your copy here.
We wait for the day when we can return to India.
With love and light,