27 april 2011

temple festival, teynampet, chennai

i’m still trying to get the full story on this, but this is a scene from a draupadi amman temple annual festival. a devotee is portraying rama and is climbing a four-story pole topped with the temple flag; when he reaches the top, he will perform a pooja ceremony. no one at the ceremony spoke english well enough to explain exactly why he was doing this, so i’m going to have to go back with an interpreter. in the meantime, i’ll put together a full album from the morning later this week.

22 april 2011

ideal beach

yesterday being good friday, a group of us went to the ideal beach resort south of chennai, where we were welcomed by the smell of fried fish, the promise of a cold beer, and the opportunity to enjoy the sun and the waves. this, in contrast to today, which greeted us with grey skies, wet sidewalks, and the smell of untreated sewage from the nearby river.

31 march 2011

kamal hassan with celebration guests

i had my first paying photography gig last week, shooting the indo-american association of chennai’s diamond jubilee. the highlight of the evening was the presence of the chief guest, kamal hassan (the one in the white shirt, just left of center), a film actor who has been in the movies for more than 50 years himself.  with his film career and social activism, he is essentially the george clooney of india.  this is the second time i’ve met him – the first was at a screening of his latest film arranged for the u.s. consulate.  he’s a very modest guy, and although my driver and housekeeper were very impressed, it’s really easy not to be star-struck when you don’t know the celebrities of the country.