Photographing the World’s Largest Election: 814 Million Voters, 43 Dead

May 12, 2014 | Eugene Reznik

Over the last five weeks, Bejing-based Canadian photojournalist Kevin Frayer has been covering India’s parliamentary election for Getty Images, which ended today with epic turnouts in its ninth and final phase. It is considered “the world’s largest democratic exercise,” and the numbers are staggering.

Every five years, upwards of 814 million eligible voters, majority rural poor, cast ballots for 543 members of the lower house with up to 50 different regional parties and two national parties contending for seats. With no reasonable chance of any single party attaining a majority, a winning coalition with have to select the prime minister. Over 10 million voting officials and security personnel had been mobilized at 930,000 polling stations. At least 43 people have been killed in attacks on Muslim villagers in north-east Assam. According to the Guardian, “Hindu nationalist hardliner Narendra Modi and his opposition party are expected to win.” Election results are scheduled for May 16.

Frayer, perviously at the Associated Press, is recognized for his work in conflict regions around the Middle East and Asia. I first came across his photos and spoke with him following the collapse of the Bangladeshi garment factory one year ago. The images I’ve chosen to share here demonstrate his strong filled-frame compositions, eye for natural light and rich color palate befitting both the intensely vibrant Indian country side and urban centers. ANIMAL previously featured the work of photojournalists Brendan Hoffman, Scott Olson and Dimitar Dilkoff. Follow Kevin Frayer on Instagram and Twitter.

(Lead Image: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images; Caption: A supporter of India’s ruling Congress Party shouts slogans during a rally on April 20, 2014 in Mumbai, India.)