Chained to tradition
An Asian elephant stands visibly traumatised, chained to a temple pillar following a six-hour procession. It was paraded through the streets of Varanasi, noisy with crowds and rocketing fireworks, in the build up to Diwali, the festival of lights. ‘The elephant was swaying and its bloodshot eyes swirled, as its owner looked on anxiously,’ says Emily. There are an estimated 3,600 domesticated Asian elephants in India, belonging either to the government, wealthy families or temples and used in festivals throughout the year. They are an endangered species, their wild counterparts under threat from habitat loss and conflict with humans in agricultural areas.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50 mm f1.8 lens; 1/125 sec at f1.8; ISO 3200.
Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
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Emily Garthwaite, UK
Emily is a photographer studying for a master’s degree in photojournalism and documentary photography at Westminster University. She has a fascination with capturing the human spirit, and is passionate about human rights and female empowerment. She strives to uncover the beauty in all the challenges that life brings.