The bridge woven over the river from living plants
In northeast India, heavy rains erode the infrastructure. The local population builds their own bridges… from living plants.
Text: Nina Strochlic
Photograph: Prasenjeet Yadav
In the Indian state of Meghalaya, one of the wettest places on earth, the population intertwines the roots of the rubber tree to create sturdy pedestrian bridges. For one year, Prasenjeet Yadav photographed about thirty bridges made of roots.
A few months earlier: how to get the picture
Yadav had never visited a bridge with live roots before he started the project, but he knew that such a bridge existed near the village of Nohwet. With many tourists photographing, Yadav wanted his image to stand out. To prepare himself, he consulted other photographers and studied landscape paintings. He decided to capture the image after twilight. It was risky: unexpected and intense rainfall can lead to sudden floods, which can be especially dangerous at night.
Two weeks earlier: basic equipment list
On Yadav’s fourth trip to the region, he already knew what to carry in his luggage. He reduced the supplies to the basics, took a few raincoats for himself and gave priority to protecting the equipment.
-Umbrellas for equipment protection
-Flashes and a LED light panel
-Rubber sheet for the machine
-Black film sheet to protect the lens
Starting the project: “painting” with light
From his base in Bangalore, Yadav flew to Guwahati and took a taxi to Nohwet.
From there, he walked 30 minutes to the bridge. For three weeks he tested the use of lights to “paint” segments of the bridge and surroundings during a long exhibition. In the 438 seconds necessary to create this image, Yadav moved between locations to guide the lights. Surrounded by darkness, he is not visible in the final photograph.
200 years estimated age of this bridge
11,500 mm annual average precipitation (2016)
6,460 approximate number of villages in the region