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.