Before Manuelo Bececco’s landscape photography went viral earlier this year, the talented Italian photographer had already amassed a fanbase with his dreamy nightscapes and autumnal visions—stunning work that made us appreciate nature and Mother Earth’s handiwork even more.
Back in 2014, Manuelo focused on a different kind of project that took him to India. His travels produced some extraordinary photography that really looked into the heart of India, its architecture and the country’s culture. You can read more of Manuelo’s personal statement on the project here, and read our Q+A with Manuelo, below.
Please tell us when you went to India and where your first stop was?
I was in India in September 2014. The first stop was Jaisalmer, it was me and my girlfriend with only a rented car and a driver; a beautiful experience between beautiful cities and very kind people. We traveled about 2,800km from New Delhi to Varanasi, by car, domestic plane and train. Unique emotions.
What is one thing that surprised you about traveling through India?
The thing that most surprised me is the big difference in the quality of life. I had already been in Africa and I had lived through difficult situations, but in India it was perhaps complicated also for the type of trip we made that was more of an experience of life. Being among the locals and adapting to their rules for an Italian is not easy but in the end it all went well, we returned home with new friends and with the knowledge that we live in a world that can sometimes be complicated, but at the same time, very fascinating.
There is a lot of poverty in India. Talk to us about what you saw along your travels and how it affected you.
We find poverty everywhere, but the difference is made by people with their lifestyle. The caste system should now be extinguished and abolished as in Indian laws, but the population still continues to use it , and it is not nice to see children cleaning the streets or making fuel with cow feces.
The caste system is divided into Priests, Nobles and Warriors, Workers, Servants and the Untouchables.
We say that, in this way, the rich remain rich and the poor remain poor. This is a very severe element because from birth you already have a label that you cannot change; it’s very sad.
Where must travelers go in India? What was your favorite destination?
All of India is beautiful, so if you go to visit it I recommend Agra where you can see one of the seven wonders: the Taj Mahal; certainly Karjurhao, a beautiful old city, and the temples of Kamasutra for those who like me are curious. You cannot miss Varanasi, which for me embodies the spirit of India—full of spirituality where people go to redeem their sins and pray for their dead, and where the funeral ceremonies are very distressing.