June 14, 2013
|have we got signs!|
i will miss the signs in chennai. they were part of the intense visual detail that drew me to the walls project, but moreover, they’re revealing in their own right. while plenty of signs use indian models to advertise merchandise, cola, eyeglasses, etc., you still find some signs using blond, white models, and usually these models have absolutely nothing to do with the products being advertised.
|as i noted in an earlier post, it’s nice to see someone get so excited over flame retardant p.v.c.-insulated wires and cables. (the company’s iso 9100 certified!)|
i think the older signs are more useful. you might not know exactly what you want, but you’ll know whether the shop has it or not.
|if anyone knows what the things in the second-row middle and right photographs are, let me know.|
June 12, 2013
one aspect of my abstract wall details project is that the walls change over time; that when i go back to them (as i have, to take additional photographs), i see that someone has added graffiti, the weather has distressed the paint even more, or – sometimes – someone has obliterated the image completely. sic transit gloria muri.
the original wall, circa march 2013
the wall as of june 2013
June 10, 2013
… i came across photos of the southern railways sports association 76th all-india railway men and women’s athletic championships, from 2011. one of my fellow “husbands of chennai” friends invited me along (he knew one of the competitors), so i brought my camera: when else do you get the chance to photograph sports close up? at the chennai tennis open, actually, but what the heck.
the romance of the railroads … the railways are a very big deal in india. indian railways is the largest railway system in the world with 115,000 km of track and 25 million passengers daily, as well as one of the world’s largest public employers with over 1.4 million employees. around chennai there are “colonies” (housing estates) for railway employees and railway manufacturing employees – many state bodies provide living quarters for their employees – so the idea that they have a sports association is not surprising.
|enter the competitors.|
|real competition, albeit to an empty stadium.|
click on the arrow keys on the slideshow to make it go faster.
May 21, 2013
with only nine weeks left before we leave india, it’s a little late for me to be posting this, but it’s been a constant issue … at a cash register in any country, it’s not uncommon to see foreigners sorting through their change, trying to figure out which coin is which. india makes it particularly difficult.
counting across and then down, coins 4, 5 and 6 are exactly the same size, as are coins 7, 8 and 9. all were minted within the past 20 years.
May 20, 2013
i was going to do one more post about the kumbh mela, but that probably isn’t going to happen, since i’ve shared all the really good photos already. instead, i’m going to demonstrate a really obvious point about photography. in january, abby and i went to thailand, and while she brought along the digital olympus om-d, i brought along the leica m6 and some rolls of ilford delta 400, to do some street photography, because i’m stubborn that way.
my attempts at being garry winogrand and elliott erwitt weren’t particularly successful, so i also took the camera along on our tour day of bangkok, where we visited the royal palace, even though i figured it would be an exercise in futility. and in some respects, it was. compare abby’s photos of decorative statues with mine:
|the dimensions are different because the olympus om-d has a micro 4/3s sensor, vs. the 3:2 ratio of a 35mm film negative.|
black and white film is perhaps well suited for overcast days (like it was when we were at the palace); nonetheless, it fascinates me to think about the difference between the information that people could share from their travels in the days before digital cameras, or even color film, and what they can share now.
March 27, 2013
|a man sells jugs to store water from the ganges; wandering musicians annoy an audience of one; one boy sells sweets; another boy sells vermillion and other powders for pooja, and doesn’t look too happy about it.|
next: close quarters
March 25, 2013
apart from processions and interesting acrobatics, the sadhus just hung out in their camps and went about their business.
there was a second class of sadhu, however, that didn’t stay in large established camps. these were the mendicants (or as i called them, the “fraudhus”), who relied on the charity of the ashrams and larger camps. they seemed to spend a lot of time waiting in line for free food and not a lot of time in meditation or prayer.
watching these guys beg and quarrel, as in the photo in the lower right, made me realize that anyone can put on the orange robes, but not everyone can lead a life of spirituality and balance.
next: more stuff about the kumbh mela.
March 17, 2013
so, to take a breather from the last post, let’s just look at some sadhu portraits. the first guy was typical of the many mendicant sadhus at the kumbh mela in that he was willing to pose, but only for money; the next one was simply grooming after his bath, and ignored me. clearly, he’d been busy, but he wasn’t there to beg, either. the next two are baba nagas (including one who is out of “costume”).
next: tent life
March 15, 2013
the sadhus set up large camps while at the kumbh mela, and there were all sorts of activities going on when they weren’t in the bathing processions. that’ll be the subject of the next post, but in the meantime, here’s a little something the baba nagas did to entertain the crowds. it’s something they said is related to yoga, but we just called it “the penis trick.” don’t try this at home.
next: more scenes from the kumbh mela.