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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

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Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, March 31, 2010

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.

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Antwerp Central Station, Feb 4, 2007

Antwerp Central Station, Feb 4, 2007

For a while there I considered this photo to be the best I’d ever taken. Upon seeing this shot, some hours after taking it, I fell immediately in love with it and remember going so far as to e-mail myself the file in case of some unforeseen disaster, like being mugged and robbed, or flipping out on mushrooms.

This photo was taken on the 4th of February, 2007 at the central train station in Antwerp, Belgium on a freezing cold day. I had just arrived from The Netherlands, where I’d spent a couple of very strange days doing what was only natural in Holland – eating shrooms, smoking weed and visiting art galleries to stare in wonder at Dutch Masters like Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer.

The Lonely Planet made Antwerp sound fairly interesting, but I never made it very far into town. Indeed, inadequately clothed (I was on my way to Paris via Brussels to meet my then GF and, whilst carrying ample layers, had not, out of either blind hope or uncharacteristic ill-preparedness, brought a coat), I made it about two hundred metres down the road before feeling the pinch and turning back. I know only too well that very few cities look appealing around their central train station (are there any that do?) but on a cold, grey day, Antwerp seemed so large and inhospitable that I longed for the quaint intimacy I knew Bruges could offer. I still had, as my father used to say, “the wherewithal” to get seriously high, and figured this experience would be considerably more pleasurable when safely ensconced in a medieval town.

I took the next train to Bruges, where, sure enough, I flipped out on mushrooms, but not at the expense of my camera, or indeed, this photograph. I still treasure it, though the tiny, half-degree tilt in the uprights on the right side of the frame never ceases to bug me. Such is life.

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