Rural India in black and white

Despite the torrential rains, cyclists continue to move indifferent to their discomfort. 1977-79

Gianni Berengo Gardin is one of Italy's most celebrated living photographers, best known for his pictures of his post-war homeland.

An exhibition of the work is to be held at Prahlad Bubbar gallery in London, the first UK exhibition of the project since he was selected by Bill Brandt for the Twentieth Century Landscape Photographs exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1975.

Alongside his Italian images, his pictures of rural India offer a glimpse of a country about to undergo massive change at the end of the 1970s.

He spent two years, photographing the lives of ordinary people, their rituals, customs and industry.

When asked about the work in India Berengo Gardin said, "I have always been a great admirer of Gandhi, and one of his statements is engraved on my mind. He said that Europeans and Westerners come to India and visit the big cities, but they never go to see the villages, even though, in reality, India is made up of small villages."

Here's a selection of the work from India.

Bed (or jhula palna) suspended from the ceiling, also used as a swing, in a house in the village of Paliya, Malwa. 1977-79
Toys and games for the children of the village.
In the evening, the quiet pond of Sukh Niwas Palace. It is also used for watering cattle from surrounding villages
Young men in the village's central meeting point
A man takes shade under the leaves of a teak tree. Central India

And a few from Italy...

Venice, 1960
Venice, 1959
Sotto il Monte, Lombardy, 1969
On a vaporreto, Venice, 1960

Photographs © Gianni Berengo Gardin, Courtesy Prahlad Bubbar Gallery, London.

Phil Coomes Article written by Phil Coomes Phil Coomes Picture editor

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