A few weeks ago I went on a solo photography trip to India to shoot a self-assignment about the nomadic communities living in Gujarat. As part of my pre-trip preparation I undertook some research, bouncing ideas around with friends, checking articles and other resources, and learning about the current reality and life conditions of these groups. I knew the two plus weeks I had planned to devote to this trip where going to be tight for such a complex subject matter, but I was more than happy to take the challenge.
With about 4 million members in more than 300 different communities, the nomadic population of the state of Gujarat is quite substantial and diverse. In the past each nomadic community used to provide a specific service to the society: many groups specialised in performing – they were musicians, fire-eaters, snake-charmers, acrobats, whereas other tribes would carry out manual work (e.g. ironsmiths, knife-sharpeners, bamboo artisans). Technology and industrialisation have contributed to the collapse of the demand for such services, leaving these people out of work, threatening the survival of their culture and traditions, and – what’s worse – eroding their livelihood. Read More