“Salt Pan #18, Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India, 2016”
Four months of the year, the northwest part of the state of Gujarat is submerged in rain and sea water by the monsoon. During the dry season, it’s a marsh occupied by the Agariyas, a roaming community of 5,000 families who work in stifling heat to manufacture threequarters of India’s salt. The air is filled with the roar and belch of diesel pumps as some 43,000 workers—mostly women—draw brine to the surface and direct it into clay beds formed by their feet, thumpthump-thump, to hasten evaporation. It’s a tough life: salt workers are afflicted with tuberculosis and skin lesions, and rarely live past 60.