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Indians and Pilgrims 

One in the same

Over a period of 40 years, Michael Putnam returned to India to photograph pilgrims on their way to bathe in the sacred Ganges River. Forty years seems like a long time to work on a project, but when you consider that the ritual of the pilgrimage was first recorded in the seventh century, those four decades are literally a drop in the bucket. But just as one can never step in the same river twice, each pilgrimage is a different experience. Singly and in groups, as strangers and as family members, the Hindus make the journey to the Ganges as a spiritual quest with the same purpose, but for different reasons; all of them seek to cleanse their bodies of sin, and yet each pilgrim carries a personal burden that they wish to have absolved. Michael Putnam: Pilgrim Indian, a selection of 40 years worth of photographs, opens with a free, public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, August 24 at the May Photography Gallery in the second floor of the Sverdrup Building on the Webster University campus (8300 Big Bend Boulevard; 314-246-7673 or www.webster.edu/maygallery); the gallery is open Monday through Friday, and the show remains up through Friday, September 21.
Mondays-Fridays. Starts: Aug. 24. Continues through Sept. 21, 2007

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