Ok, so this is a sequence of photographs, rather than a single shot, taken in Bikaner, Rajasthan, during my first visit to India in 2010. I find it difficult to choose a favourite frame – though two or three stand out to me in the middle of the sequence – and anyway, think they belong together as a sequence. This was taken in the late afternoon on the only day I spent in Bikaner – a place, like so many in Rajasthan, famous for its palace – Lalgarh, built in the Indo-Saracenic style. Bikaner is also famous for its sweets and snacks, though I was still on meds after a bacterial infection and was eating like a sparrow.
I love this shot because it seems such an iconic Indian subject, almost to the point of cliché: a woman in traditional Rajasthani dress, negotiating a dirt road and carrying a tiffin, no doubt full of some spicy goodness. One of my favourite things is to shoot into the light, especially when there is water involved, as I’m very fond of the way figures are outlined against reflected light and glare. I would usually be inclined to shoot something like this in black and white, and did so for the first frame, but am pleased in the end that I flicked the switch to colour. In some ways the black and white seems more iconic, but the colours are distinctly Rajasthani and it seems appropriate to showcase those.
I have always like the way the main subject works with the background in this sequence. In the early shots, the cow does a good job of creating a background vignette until the woman enters the centre of the frame and takes over. After that, it’s all about her, and rightly so.