Tiger Man April 20, 2014
I stumbled across this man while I wandered into a little village somewhere in South Mumbai. He looked so interesting to me – his facial features, the hair everywhere and his eyes. He seemed so gentle and I wondered what his life was like as a young soul. What made this shot even more interesting to me is the art work behind him. The tiger and him look so much alike! I did not speak to him at all until I was done taking several shots of him. Kaushal, who is another street photographer was with me and spoke the local language and explained to him after I was done why I found him and the background so fascinating. He just nodded his head Indian styles, clearly not as impressed as I was with his resemblance to the tiger!
Champals April 15, 2014
The Best Butt in Mumbai April 13, 2014
So, as I was hanging around the Gate of India, my eyes met with a fantastic behind. I then looked further up from the back up to the head and realized that it was a man’s. I was so fixated on it that I took numerous shots of a scene from behind, which also captured his backside. At one point, I decided to have some fun! See if you notice what is going on in this picture. Enjoy the best butt of Mumbai!
A Time to Reflect April 12, 2014
Street Photography in Mumbai April 10, 2014
I have always had a keen interest in photography, but never really explored it, other then taking travel shots mostly. I decided that since I had some time, I would head to India to learn more about photography, and practice shooting. I was not sure what I really wanted to focus on. I like taking pictures of buildings, food, people…so I was open to any genre almost within this area. Mumbai would be a good place. I always liked Mumbai and had only spent a few days there here and there. My friends Sans and Mike were also there, they live there, so it made sense. I started to look up photographers in Mumbai and came up with a list of about 18. I wanted someone to help me ‘open my eyes’ and see better. In addition to that, learning a bit about my camera would be useful. I had several people write back to me but it was important for me that the type of work they did fit within what I was looking to do. I was not keen on fashion for example. I was thinking more along the lines of travel or portrait but then I came across something called Street Photography. I mean I have taken pictures of people on the streets, but this is much different than that.
What is Street photography? Well, I would have to say that it involves capturing people or animals that are involved in an activity of some sort – capturing elevated moments, without asking people for permission and without them really stopping doing what they are doing. You really do not want posed pictures. It can be challenging and scary at times. I had to take my camera right up to people’s faces to take some of the shots that I did within the 5 days of shooting. What would they say I thought? What if someone hit me or yelled at me in Hindi?! I had 2 people say ‘no’ to me during those 5 days and strangely enough, they were both children! Good for them I say! The rest were quite friendly. Some of them asked what was going on…”Media hai”?
Street is about getting really close to people to tell a story. You have to think about framing and layering and making sure that you do not cut people’s legs or arms off. Sometimes it is fine but it really depends on the story you are trying to tell. One must take multiple shots of the same event and even then, you may not get what you are looking for. I went to about 6 different areas within South Mumbai with my mentor, Kaushal Parikh. It was great fun. In terms of knowing my camera’s functions, we did not really focus on that. I actually used Kaushal’s Olympus on the first day and my Canon on subsequent days. I think it really is about the eye, though I would like to know more about reading graphs and ISOs etc. at some point. Right now though, I rather focus on ‘seeing better’ and just taking pictures. I am not so sure how this would work in North America. I mean I cannot imagine people in NYC being okay with me taking a picture of their child randomly. There are people there that do this though, so I will just have to give it a try!
Some famous street photographers include: Vivian Maier, Eugene Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
2 Years in a Nutshell, Part I December 16, 2012
The posts over the next couple of weeks will be in no apparent order, but it will document my memories of the last 2 years, specifically related to my work and travels.
I think that I have seen just too much sometimes, that things that might phase the ordinary person, do not always get to me. I mean, I have had my fair share of interesting sagas- I was almost locked in a restaurant on hotel grounds, with the music being turned up so loud that I could not even hear myself. Then 3 men walked into the restaurant from the back entrance…good thing my instincts told me to bolt out of there. I learned, that in some countries, you should never be the last person dining, especially the last woman. In some hotels, people come into your room when the do not disturb sign is up! Men will shake your hand and hold it for a few seconds too long. I sat next to a woman on a plane, chanting loudly and making tsk tsk sounds every few seconds. Oh and yes, how about the man who was clearly having too much fun under the blanket on a 9 hour plane ride! No joke.
Never mind the cockroaches, ants in my hotel bed and mice I’ve had to battle. Oh yes, I cannot forget the 2 children who massacred the plane, as their parents watched. The best in flight video ever….different types of cutlery are shown on the screen above the toilet with a big red X on them. Seriously, how many people take their meal trays in the bathroom with them? This lady cried once because she wasn’t allowed on the plane. It was about to take off and she was too busy shopping. Apparently, it wasn’t her fault that the gate was so far away. She screamed to let her on the plane while it was in taxi. Then she made the person at the desk walk her back to the main terminal to pick her bags up. I watched all of this as i waited for my delayed flight. And yes,I have missed 3 flights this year alone.
A bachelor party took place on the plane from Majorca to Geneva. They were a fun bunch though, dressed in pink. In front of me sat a little boy, about 2 years old. He was traveling with his father, who left him alone twice to go to the bathroom, unbuckled and who then fell asleep before we were even all the way up in the air. The poor boy was so bored, tearing up a magazine and crawling under the seat. At one point, I got up, reached over the father, and brought the child back to sit with me. At least we could entertain one another. His father didn’t even blink. We played games on the iPad and took funny pictures with the iphone booth app. It was great fun. It wasn’t until the pilot announced that we would be landing shortly, that the dad awoke and panicked. I tapped him on his shoulder to tell him the little one was with me. He just said ok and closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Of course, sometimes the journeys are chilling. Like when the helicopter had to land in the middle of nowhere in Kyrgyzstan. There were about 11 of us if I recall correctly. How would 11 ppl find their way to the city while in the middle of the mountains? A trailer type thing drove by. An Australian and New Zealand couple were on a road trip. They were on their way to Afghanistan. Imagine they had exactly 11 seats left in the vehicle. Divine intervention.
I was forgotten once at 3am when I landed in Islamabad, Pakistan and recovered my lost luggage, which was dropped on the runway and later found. Instead of doing the obvious and heading to the Serena with one of their cars which would have been the safest thing to do, I found ‘mommy’. He claimed to know where the hotel was that I had to go to. I told him there were two with the same name and I needed the guest house. He said he’d been living there all of his life and he knew where he had to take me. To make the story short, we ended up at the wrong place, got lost going to where we were supposed to after he got directions to the right one and ran out of gas. I was left alone at 430am in the middle of the road, while he went to find a cab, which he didnt get. He called a friend to get us…yes, I know, mad thing to do. I finally insisted he take me to the Serena and I’d sort things out the next day. Lucky for me he was a nice man. Honest. And he really did make sure I felt comfortable. He actually made his friend stay behind on the road and watch his car while he dropped me.
I must say that anyone that I know that has been to India has had a nightmare story. I was rather lucky to have met great people for the most part. No rickshaw drivers took me for a ride- well a joyride! Once one got lost but it was my fault because I didnt realize there was more than one Taj hotel, and he was super apologetic. I then decided to walk at 11pm, having no clue where I was and not knowing that Delhi was one of the unsafest places in India to be romping around, let alone. After all these years of living alone, I rented an apartment in Delhi, well a room. The other room was empty and I honestly did not think after a month of being there by myself, that someone would move in. Yes indeed, Hugo from Paris. A 20 something year old who was there on an internship….to party! Beer bottles lay around and chip wrappers were left here and there, along with the countless number of pizza boxes. But leaving the doors unlocked and the iron on….gees. He fell in love with a Russian model and soon I saw Hugo less. She had a 10pm curfew so they tried to make the most of the evening. He was a nice boy though, always offering me his pasta with ketchup or trying to get me to come out and party.
Of course, there was Josephine from Uganda who journeyed with me from Dokollo, Uganda to Kampala. She shared her tragic but inspiring life story- a woman who had fought all odds. However, about 6 months ago she emailed me to say that her caregiver had gotten her pregnant. Sometimes, life is made too difficult for people. However, her baby is negative as Josephine was infected with HIV.
I have been asked to climb on the back of motorbikes without a helmet and almost attacked by baboons. I have had to sly away from stray dogs. Walked with keys in my hand just in case I needed to poke someone’s eyes out. Been spat on. Sunken into mud. Hugged and been hugged. High fived. Been adorned. Laughed so hard it hurt. Danced in the rain. Been drugged. Been eaten alive by bed bugs. Thrown up on an airplane. Seen flight attendants throw up because the turbulence was so bad. Shared intimate conversations with strangers. Fallen a few times. Had nice, strong strangers help me with my bags. Had some of the best, unhealthy foods. Loitered at the grandest hotels. Smiled with glee. Loved. Been peed on….
I have gotten lost plenty of times, including in the subway station in Moscow because I couldn’t find my way out amongst the hundreds of people in there and that made me a bit anxious. I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English. I saw a bus driver in Delhi get beaten. That made my arm hands stand up. I’ve watched children play all sorts of outdoor games. Gotten rashes and DE. Seen some of the best beaches in the world. Listened to some of the loveliest tunes around. Lost things. Found things. Melted in the heat. Gone blue in the cold. Seen different kinds of wildlife. Gotten stuck in the most horrendous traffic jams. Shopped till I dropped.
It is true what people say….once you start, you can’t stop!