Claude Renault is a photographer originally hailing from Brittany (Bretagne) in France, and is now making Iceland his domicile. Incredibly "Indiaphile", he travels regularly to India, and based on what I've seen of his immense collection of photographs, has traversed the Indian subcontinent many times and in all and every directions.
He avoids mainstream India and its tourist circuits, but is seduced by the people of India...the regular people, the village and small town cultures. He followed the flow of India's many sacred rivers, from the sources of such rivers to the sea, immersing himself in the rituals along the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Narmada and the Cauvery. Inspired by the Gauguin and Vuillard, he uses India's commonplace to create potent scenes of humanity.
Claude tells us that he's not religious nor spiritual, but is fascinated by Hinduism covering every facet of life in India. I know precisely what he means by this statement, as I feel the same way....perhaps not about Hindusim per se, but about India's inherent spirituality which I've witnessed so personally during the Hindu pilgrimage of the Kumbh Mela, on the banks of Varanasi and Rishikesh, in the Sufi dargahs of Delhi and Ajmer and in the Buddhist enclaves of Dharmasala and Sikkim.
From his immense gallery of photographs, I chose this one of a woman giving water to a beggar. The photograph was made in the village of Badami in Karnataka. Claude says that the woman had fed the beggar before giving him water. A way of life in India. (Click on the photograph for a better resolution).