Archive for September 4, 2009

Dust Storm in the Desert

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 4, 2009 by stevemccurry

Rajasthan, India 1983


I was in a beat-up taxi traveling through the desert to a town called Jaisalmer near the India-Pakistan border. It was in June, and as hot as the planet ever gets. The rains had failed in that part of Rajasthan for thirteen years. I wanted to capture something of the mood of anticipation before the monsoon.

As we drove down the road, we saw a dust storm grow — a typical event before the monsoon breaks. For miles it built into a huge frightening wall of dust, moving across the landscape like a tidal wave, eventually enveloping us like a thick fog. As it arrived, the temperature dropped suddenly and the noise became deafening. Where we stopped, women and children worked on the road — something they are driven to do when the crops fail — now barely able to stand in the fierce wind, clustered together to shield themselves from the sand and dust. I tried to make pictures.

In the strange dark-orange light and howling wind, battered by sand and dust they sang and prayed.  Life and death seemed to hang in a precarious balance.




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