Fewer Misadventures in Film Photography

I recently started developing my own color film. Color film development is tricky because you have to maintain the chemicals at a specific temperature, otherwise the film gets ruined. And when I sent my film out to a lab here in town, it did get ruined—albeit in sometimes interesting ways—so I’ll do my own development from now on.

Here we have the world’s largest Lord Shiva statue, the Kailashnath Mahadev Statue. It stands at 143 feet high. (The next largest, in Karnataka, India, is only 123 feet high.) The day we went, the park was fairly crowded, with lots of people posing for photos and generally enjoying the day.

At the opposite end of the scale, we have an admittedly out of focus portrait of the Living Goddess, or Kumari, of Patan. Among Newari Buddhists (the Newaris are one of the major ethnic groups here), there is a belief that Taleju, one of the manifestations of the goddess Durga, incarnates herself as a young girl of the Shakya caste. A set of priests selects the incarnation based on a number of signs, and then puts her through a series of tests to be sure she is Taleju; it is not unlike the selection of the Panchen Lama. Once she has passed the tests, she becomes the Kumari until she reaches maturity.

Unlike the Royal Kumari in Kathmandu, the Kumari of Patan lives with her family in a humble apartment in one of the temples. When visitors come, her father fetches her, dresses her in her gown, and puts her on the throne where she blesses the visitors in exchange for a small donation. At least during my visit, it seemed like a pretty joyless experience.

Author: cohn17

Photographer and baker of macarons.

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