Photographing a story on the Pushkar camel fair is something I had wanted to do since hearing about it shortly after arriving in India to teach photography in 2002. In the fall of 2008, the right opportunity presented itself and I found myself under the Rajasthan desert sun surrounded by thousands of nomads. What I realized immediately was the real story was not the fair, but the thousands of lives in the orbit of the mela. Just as a satellite has a clear view of the earth, their lives told a story of the bigger picture beyond the surface of what any casual observer would see. I chose to focus on just one family drawn into the fairs orbit. Click the play button below to see the mela through their eyes. Don’t forget to click the full screen button on the bottom right for the full effect.
Every year, thousands of camel herders and tens of thousands of camels gather during the full moon of the month of Kartik to trade their livestock. In the midst of this mela, filled with a carnival atmosphere of tourists, hucksters, con men, and heavily mustached and turbaned desert nomads, a family of musicians counts on the festival to bring in the majority of the money they need to survive for the coming year.