Road Trip to Orissa, India
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American travel photographer Tom Carter, author of the critically acclaimed book CHINA: Portrait of a People, has released new photos from his trip to Orissa. His multi-week visit of the remote eastern Indian state included an extensive tour of numerous Maoist-controlled villages in southern Orissa.
“At one point, we actually got caught right in the middle of a Naxal-organized strike, which effectively shut down for over a week the entire transportation network in Southern Orissa,” said Carter during a recent interview. “Fortunately, Orissa is perhaps India’s most naturally-beautiful state, so I was still able to get lots of great shots while we were stranded.”
Orissa is also one of India’s most poor regions and in a constant state of political turmoil between local indigenous tribes, represented by the far-left Naxalites, or Maoists, and government and corporate interests out to exploit the resource-rich region.
Puri, site of India’s most famous temple, the Jagannath, is Orissa’s biggest tourist draw, however Carter says he opted to spend most of his time in the jungles of Koraput in South Orissa to photograph the reclusive adivasi tribes.
“The Gadaba, the Bonda, the Dongria - I’ve never seen more resplendent tribal people anywhere in the world than I did in Koraput…and I don’t think I’ve ever taken more awesome photographs either!”
38-year-old Carter made headlines in 2008 for his unprecedented 2-year, 56,000 kilometer journey across the 33 provinces of China, which resulted in the creation of his 640-page book of photography CHINA: Portrait of a People. Considered the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author, the photo book was a critical and commercial success.
"I intend to photograph all 35 states/territories and traverse as much of India's 3.3 million square kilometers as possible. It may take a couple of years, but I won't rest until I have created the definitive India photo book, something any single author has yet to do."
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