A Photography, A History: "Desert of Thar Rajasthan"

Desert du Thar Rajasthan
"Two women fetch water from a tank decorated by children from the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India, in 2004." Emmanuel Lhoste

Interview Emmanuel Lhoste


ArtPhotoLimited: Your photograph is called "Thar Rajasthan Desert" in India. In what city was it exactly?

Emmanuel Lhoste: We are in the desert 50 km west of Jasalmer not far from Pakistan. The desert is densely populated. We see it at night when we see the lights of the villages in the distance.

Why did you go to this country? How long did you stay?

I was very young and I traveled a lot for no particular reason except to see the country. I stayed 1 month.

What did you like in this scene?

In the desert, villages and cisterns are several kilometers apart. It often takes a long time to walk. Seeing a well in the middle of nowhere is very amazing. It is thought that there is nothing around us except death, and suddenly there is an element that brings us back to life.

There is a surreal side in this photo between desert and cistern ... What do you think?

Indeed, there is a surrealist side. To tell you an anecdote: we are in October or November and it is the hot season in the desert. It is more than 50 ° in the shade and there is no shadow as you can suspect. I can not afford to pay for a room with air conditioning and I sleep very badly at night and I am awakened by the call to prayer of the Muslims and then the Buddhists. In short, I am in a psychedelic state and this photo represents exactly the memory that I have of the desert of Thar.

The pastel tones give a very poetic side to this photograph. Is it related to the natural light of the desert or to a particular work carried out in this photo?

The desert has a pastel monochrome color due to the color of the sand. The crushing light makes the weak vegetation pale. The photo is a slide. Then there is also a work of digital post-production in this picture. I tried to create a photo that is close to a painting to accentuate even more the unreal side of the scene.

Were you able to talk personally with the women on the photograph?

Yes, I have a little discussion. They told me that the village was 3 km behind the dune they showed me, but I did not see. They were going to draw water at 5 in the morning because a few hours later they could no longer walk in the desert because of the heat. I remember that they were very pretty with their big smiles on their lips and their beautiful white teeth.

I imagine they were bringing the water from the village. Could you explain to us a bit more about the context in which this village was located at the time?

Yes they do that twice a day. Villages do not have running water, but thanks to the wells life is possible in the desert. It should be noted that the population density in the Thar desert is identical to that of France. Not surprising! For electricity, there are wind turbines and there again no problem, because they are windy areas. And for supplies, there are large markets and in the worst case they go on foot to Jasalmer, located at 50 km.

Last question more personal: since when do you practice the profession of photographer?

I work as a photographer since 2012 I do photo shoots for weddings, but also for corporate events. Photography is not easy to sell. For the individual the price of an artisan's labor seems too expensive. And in the business market, you have to have a real commercial talent in addition to that of photographer to be able to work.

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