Four years ago I went to India to clear my head and get away after my marriage ended in divorce. I traveled all over India while there, and was in Udaipur at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel on December 26th, 2004 when the Tsunami hit. I was out of harms way but during my travels I'd met people who were headed south to regions that were devastated by the Indian Ocean earthquake.
India is a photographers dream. It's an assault to the senses in every way and the images that jump out at you stay in your mind forever. Before my trip to India I'd always met people who'd traveled to India over and over, and I was curious why they kept going back. I now know the answer as I yearn to this day to go back.
Tonight I am inspired to write this entry after going to see the best movie I've seen this year, "Slumdog Millionaire". I went with a good friend, fellow photographer Kwaku Alston. This is hands down the best movie I've seen in a long time and watching the film took be back to being in India. My first stop in India was in Mumbia, (formally Bombay) and much of the movie takes place there, but also shoots in Agra. My trip to India started in Mumbai then continued to Goa, Udiapur, Delhi, Agra and back to Mumbia before going on to Nepal. Oddly enough I stayed at one of the hotels that was the target of terrorist attacks in Mumbai a few weeks ago.
I took 200 rolls of film four years ago and shot 196 of those rolls while on my trip. They are images that will forever be among my favorites, but not because they are all that great. I remember each day of my trip and the stories that go with each image, and for that reason I love these images. I've never shown these images outside of my speaking engagements but hope to find a home for them one day.
If you haven't watched Slumdog Millionaire please go see it as the story is incredible. I laughed as I watched the scenes at the Taj Mahal when everyone must take off their shoes to enter because what happens in the movie crossed my mind while I was there. I have a shot of all the shoes gathered at the steps of the Taj, but it is not pictured here. One of my favorite shots in India is taken from the back of a rickshaw and is pictured here and shows the rickshaw walla (driver) from behind in red. At one point in the movie one of the main characters says "God is Great" and this phrase was painted in the rickshaw that took me all over Agra.
I love film and I love India, but today I'd take my Sony A900 to India instead of a film camera as traveling around airports in India and Nepal with film and trying to get hand checks was a real pain. Also, it took me a forever to scan all my favorite images on my Imacon film scanner and still there are images I love that are not yet scanned.
The images of the kids on the beach were taken in Goa, India early one morning and even though I could not speak with them there was a beautiful connection and visual communication that led to these images. It was a wonderful morning I will never forget. For the James Bond fans the Taj Lake Palace Hotel is the same location used in the Bond film, "Octopussy" and is to this day one of the most amazing places I've ever stayed. The shot of the flute player is taken at the Lake Palace Hotel and each morning I woke to this most melodious music. The music was so beautiful and peaceful and I wish everyone could hear the music as you view the image. It was just so beautiful.
I can't end this without sharing a great book that was given to me as a gift. Its another must read for any photographer and I am truly enjoying every page. The book is "Annie Leiboitz at Work".
Always Dream Big!!