another wall

i must have mentioned somewhere that on august 21, i had my first gallery show.  i displayed 11 photographs – five abstract close-up shots of the paint and posters on building exteriors that, over the years, have worn away into interesting patterns; and six more literal close-ups of hindu shrines, alleys, trees and the like.  the above shot is another in the vein of the abstracts.  i’m really enjoying looking for “found art” on the walls of chennai, even though none of these were purchased at the gallery show.  artists are never understood in their time – except for the ones that are, of course.

we recently moved to a new apartment that is closer to the other consulate residences and to better restaurants.  we’re still surrounded by boxes since we’re making a concerted effort to sort and purge our stuff, but we’re much happier here.  if nothing else, we’re no longer stuck in the old traffic patterns, which means that every trip takes about 20 minutes less than it did when we were in our house.  the dog has a good-sized yard in which to chase it, the mysterious thing in our garden that he fruitlessly hunted for the first year; it seems to have come with us.

i go to bhutan on next week via kolkata (calcutta).  photos to come.

ganesh chathruthi

woman painting ganesh statues; man decorating his ganesh statues while the clay is still soft; rows of statues, some painted; a woman making flower wreaths for pooja ceremonies.

i took the leica on a photowalk with the photographic society of madras, to capture the start of ganesh chathruthi.  this is a holiday for the god ganesh, on the day which (it is said) his power on earth is at its strongest.  the people who worship ganesh buy statues of the god and hold ceremonies in their homes; then they take the statues to the ocean and carry them in.

i should say something about the previous post of the firewalk.  this was a lot easier to capture than the first one i shot, in part because the fire was so much smaller that the heat was easier to take.  granted, it’s still terrible light, so the shutter speed is not what i would have liked, but it was a good night.  unlike the other firewalk, most of the devotees here pierced their cheeks with vel just as the worshippers do during adi kirthigai.

some of the priests and worshippers were not keen on having me take photos, but the majority of the crowd ignored me and a few indians kept grabbing me to help me find a good vantage point. usually, there is a handful of indians who want to share the ceremony with the foreigner holding a camera, so i had a variety of guides during the night ranging from an eight-year-old boy to a fairly drunk 50-something.

i’ll have more photos to add once i receive a new supply of film chemicals.