liveBooks IMPACT online exhibition – Art Wolfe takes you to the Ganges River
Welcome to the new IMPACT online exhibition, a project exploring the internet as a venue for insightful photographic work. In an effort to remind viewers of the important role photographers play around the world, we invited an array of imagemakers to share galleries on their blogs (like this one) that comprise 12 images representing an experience when they had an impact on or were impacted. By clicking on the links below the IMPACT logo, you can move through the exhibition, viewing other galleries by different photographers. You can also click the IMPACT logo to be taken to a post on the liveBooks RESOLVE Blog where you can see an index of all participating photographers. We hope that by linking different photographic visions of our first topic, “Outside Looking In,” we can provide a multifaceted view of the topic as well as the IMPACT individuals can have on the world around us.
Fed by snowmelt from the Himalaya, the Ganges River is the spiritual center of Hinduism, and one of India’s holiest cities is Allahabad, cradled at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers. Every few years, depending upon the alignment of the planets, sun, and moon, this is the site of the world’s largest gathering of humanity, the Kumbh Mela.
I have been in the midst of huge migrations of wildlife, but nothing ever prepared me for this mass human pilgrimage. From every corner of the subcontinent, millions of people converge to bathe in the purifying river waters. There is nothing on Earth that can match this pilgrimage for sheer spectacle and exuberance.
From the earliest moments of the day to late at night, there is constant pageantry and stimulation. I love working the margins of the day, especially the mornings when people are just waking up. Filtered by low light the atmosphere is hazy with dust and smoke; the harsh edges softens and even the most mundane scene looks like a painting. It is easy to say that photographing the Kumbh Mela has been one of the great adventures and privileges of my life.