Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Andrea Bruce: Widows of Varanasi

Image Copyright © Andrea Bruce-All Rights Reserved

Andrea Bruce is a Washington Post photographer, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has won innumerable awards, and was nominated for a Pulitzer prize as well as being chronicled by NPR, and appearing on PBS NewsHour.

For TTP, I chose her superlative work on the Widows of Varanasi...a subject matter after my own heart with my own work in Vrindavan and Varanasi. Her gallery is, unfortunately, too short...only 8 black & white photographs, but each is a piece of art. The one I chose for this post is absolutely breathtaking...the image of this skeletal widow drinking from the Ganges, the source of life for Hindus is one the best I've seen...its luminosity and its composition are just perfect.

I'm also providing a link to Andrea's piece on the widows which appeared in the Washington Post. These images are in color, but I found their black & white versions to be much more effective to impart the poignancy of the subject matter...inexplicably, my favorite one is absent from the color gallery.

I've photographed such widows in Varanasi in ashrams...living in penury and on charity and donations, waiting for the liberation of death. Little has affected me as much as the sadness of these lonely elderly women discarded from their families, and left to their solitude.

Andrea Bruce's website is here

The Washington Post featured Andrea's photographs (the color version) of the Widows of Varanasi in October 2005. You can see it here .

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