Young and Old in the Indian Himalaya

Young and Old in the Indian Himalaya, photo essay by Jackson Barnett.

While trekking in the Indian Himalaya for 3 months I came across the old, men that have farmed, women prayed and lived in the mountains their whole life. I met the young, boys who wear jean shorts, girls who wear make up and little kids that will play cricket well past the sun has gone down. Roads and internet access leading further into the mountains has introduced more trade, opportunity and modern western influence. The young see the west and Bollywood as a standard and dream of jobs that have more stability than the traditional subsistence farming. The elders want their traditional hindu values to carry on through their offspring, seeing the situation as a black and white choice between modernity or the way they have lived for centuries. As the world becomes a more interconnected network of culture the values that defined many for centuries are disappearing, being replaced with the denim, music and values of modern city culture. There is no clear fork with one road leading west, and one leading back to traditional India. The future holds a mix of each and how the Himalayan culture will look has yet to be seen.

These images aim to look at each group, the young in the bright color that symbolizes India and the old in the de-saturated colorless way the new youth see them. Color has been a large part of Indian culture, and how the west sees the sub-continent. Will this symbol, and other facets of Indian culture, remain as the world grows smaller? Does the influence of western culture have to replace the ancient ways of India or can both become integrated into modern life of Indians? (Jackson Barnett)

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