Josh Lane’s work, Life in Varanasi, won the WRHC Photography award. It is characterized by beautiful, saturated colors against the morbid scene of a funeral. This ceremony occurred when he was at the house of Raj, a shop owner in the city of Varanasi. He invited Josh to lunch with his family. As Josh approached, he witnessed this scene in the alley next door.

Raj’s neighbor, who was fifty years old at the time, died of a completely curable disease that morning. The family gathered to pay their respects, placing gifts for the body on the deceased man. Josh was encouraged by Raj to avoid the family as they are associated with death after the passing. A dead body is bad omen in the Hindu faith. The family was taking the man to be cremated between the Ghat, as legend states that this will break the cycle of reincarnation. In order to show respect for the family, Josh avoided speaking to them any further.

This was all while traveling in Asia during his gap year after he graduated from Randalf High School in New Jersey. Although it isn’t as common in the US, many Europeans take a gap year between their high school and university studies. Josh chose to travel the world with his Nikon d800 named Xylo. He was living and volunteering to teach children who don’t have the means to attend school in the city of Faridabad, just outside of Delhi.

Josh is inspired by Paul Nicklen and Steve McCurry. They are both National Geographic photographers. Although their names may sound unfamiliar, few people in America have never seen their work. Josh believes that these two are for more than the work they create.

Josh’s work is untouched by Photoshop. He does his best to capture the perfect image in camera, only touching minor details in post process. He is only a freshman at the University of New Mexico. He plans to pursue his Bachelor’s in Studio Art with a concentration in photography. If you wish to view more of his art, you can do so on his website.