Hindu scriptures say a person who commits suicide becomes part of the spirit world, wandering the earth until he/she would have normally died.
This is an ongoing project exploring the epidemic of farmer suicides in rural India. Over the past 15 years, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide. Many had borrowed money to plant more efficient crops, but could not pay off their debts. Because of the extremely fast transition India has undergone – from a rural to an industrial, urban society with an open market – farmers have been confronted by immense social and economic disparities where the stress ultimately culminated in suicide.
Since I started "I'll Die For You" my concept has been focused on highlighting the peculiar bond between man & land. I found this relationship unique to farmers given their dependence on the land for livelihood & the equal reliance of the land on the farmers for survival. It is a relationship built on trust & nurturing and it goes far beyond the customary attachment one has with his/her workplace or source of earning an income. This bond is at the heart of the whole story. It's a connection I have chosen to symbolically reflect in close up pictures showing the texture of farmer’s skin juxtaposed against details from the landscape. The work also focuses on showing emotional loss through a series of portraits focusing on the women left behind, from the widowed wives to mothers who outlived their children.
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Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian/British photographer living between Cairo and London. She was born in Worcestershire, England to Egyptian parents & grew up between Saudi Arabia & Egypt. In 2002, El-Tantawy started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel & Sarasota Herald-Tribune (USA). In 2006, she became freelance so she could focus on pursuing personal projects. In 2008, she was nominated & accepted as one of 15 young photographers from around the world to participate in the prestigious Reflexions Masterclass, a two-year photography seminar directed by renowned Italian photographer Giogia Fiorio and French curator Gabriel Bauret.
In 2005 she started work on her first book exploring the identity and change facing her native Egypt. In 2010, she started a long-term project looking at the epidemic of farmer suicides in rural India. Her work has been published & exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia & the Middle East and she has been recognized across several international awards.
El-Tantawy studied journalism and political science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia (USA).