Winter Picnicking in India with Arko Datto
Picnicking is far from a simple affair in India. In a land where the fleeting months of December to February offer the only time to ‘enjoy’ the otherwise unbearable tropical sun, picnicking is a winter pastime that’s taken very, very seriously.
For his series PIK-NIK, Arko Datto spent five winters traveling across eastern India photographing families, colleagues, friends, and strangers gathering for a day of partying. Arriving by the bus-load, picnickers search out the perfect spot along the rivers to unload their pots, pans, drinks, and sound systems. "As the sun sets," Datto explained to GUP, "the buses pull out, leaving stray dogs and cows to feast on carcasses, peels and leftovers amidst broken bottles and styrofoam plates. Fragile delicate environments are left behind damaged, irreversibly altered by indiscriminate pollution and plastic garbage littering." Before becoming a photographer Datto completed two masters degrees in theoretical physics and mathematics. His projects have since been published in TIME and National Geographic and he is a member of the prestigious NOOR photo agency.