Weekly Photo Challenge 2012: Ready

All ready for the charms of the Christmas season!! 😀

Our dog loves to play with these plastic basins.  If we kick it, she will come running at top speed, all set for a game of ‘football’.  So,  are you ready to play?

This is a custom in South India.  When we move into a new house, we have special prayers.  Then the ‘lady’ of the house will set a pot of milk to boil on the stove, up until it almost bubbles over.  I guess it’s just a way of signifying happiness and prosperity in the future of the family during their stay in that house.  So when my husband and me moved into our first home, this ‘housewarming’ ceremony, was the point where we got ready to take on our responsibilities of running a household…overwhelming yet exciting for every newly married couple.

Ready, steady…push!!!

Ready…smile!!

Ready or not, here I come!!!

Ready for snacks?

Don’t worry…I’m all set to support you!

Time for a quick nap…in front of the Louvre in Paris! 🙂

We had an arranged marriage.  So I would always hint to my husband how I missed out on having the ‘fairy-tale’ proposal.  So, when we went to Paris, he decided to go down on his knees and propose in front of the Eiffel tower…almost two years into our married life!  This just goes to show that you better be ready for all the crazy moments that life may throw your way…be ready to grab any opportunity…the timeline doesn’t really matter!

p.s. I accepted his ‘proposal’! 😀

Are you ready to come down yet?  I want to pose for my pictures!

Time for bed! 🙂

opinionehted.com

Started in 1889, the Eastman Kodak Company has been part of all our lives. Much like today’s generation where terms like “Google” means search, or “Facebook me” means get in touch, the “Kodak moment” has been part of all of our lives, and has always meant a special moment in time that has been captured on film.

Being a photographer, and one who was taught using film and processing my own film (and subsequently spending years in the dark), I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead. I remember my days in art school, and if you were in the photography program, the darkroom was your night club. We would spend days, nights, weeks in the darkroom. The ones who were “serious” about photography would make photographs on film, and process their own film and make their own prints. Digital was emerging, but if…

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the ‘other people’

Individual [n] : a singular person distinguished from others by a special quality [syn. character, original, unique, oneself] (Oxford dictionary definition)

This series of photos started of as an exploration of ‘identity’.  In today’s multicultural environment each of us are impacted and imprinted by various other cultures and individuals.  One approach was to see how a person would occupy a space to reflect their characteristics.  I decided to select a scenario for which the ‘set’ and the ‘subjects’ were already in place and I could simply document it.

 The scenario I selected was the labour housing camp.  It is one of the darker and controversial realities of this region.  By definition, the place is the living quarters of thousands of lower class laborers who are primarily in the construction field.  This is the zone where the companies provide their housing.  The camp is in the outskirts of the city and is a matrix of hundreds of identical building blocks packed with thousands of people.  The camp contains people from various ethnicities but the majority are from the asian subcontinent.  The population density of this place is probably the first thing that will overwhelm an onlooker.  There is normally a minimum of eight people staying within a 3x4m room and sometimes the numbers run upto twelve people within a room.  In such cases, the housing depends on the different work shifts of the people; when one goes to work, the other can sleep and viceversa.  Each double storied block could have upto eighty two rooms with a population of above 650 people.

This is staggering when you compare it to a typical residential building of around 50 rooms spread over 10 floors, housing approximately 300 people.  The housing plots are normally owned by a third party and the company will rent out rooms to accomodate their workers.  Thus, the company has to pay the landlord for the worker’s rent, electricity and water charges.  The rents are normally high, and charged per room. Thus, the company crowds more people into each room as a means to cut costs.

Although there are many ethnic groups   among the people, their personal identity is eclipsed by their communal identity: that of a laborer living within a labor camp.  Their lives are wholly dependent on the clock as many of them work from dawn to late evening and are transported from the work site to the housing via buses.  These buses, together with the housing quarters, the blue uniforms and the yellow helmets have become the ‘identity’ of these ‘people’.  Ironically, this region would not have managed to create an ‘identity’ or niche for itself in the global sector if it was not for these people, and yet these very individuals are marginalized completely by the society.

Documentation is the process of recording something by writing about it or by filming or photographing it.  It is a means of providing details or descriptions about an individual, an event, an object and so forth.  This kind of a process might imply that the content be devoid of any personal involvement, but, for me, this matter is something that cannot be discussed without the ‘human’ element.  It was truly overwhelming to see how, at the end of the day, these ‘people’ are actually just people, and yet they are treated as mere ‘elements’ in the growth of this region, marginalised and devoid of any sentiment.

On having to enter one of the rooms to photograph it, most of them had to step outside, for there was simply no space to move and I had to be careful about not bumping into the two sets of bunk beds, their belongings on the ground and the makeshift stove, also on the ground in a corner where they were making lunch.  And I was interrupting their very rare leisure time which they were spending watching sports on a small television in the room.

The pictures speak for themselves: the personal, the barriers, the collective.  The photos have been displayed as black and white so as not to take away from the content.

Cityscape

Being in a small city for many years can be suffocating at times.  You’ve seen pretty much all there is to see and been to all the places there is to go.  So it can be challenging to photograph something that would be striking without being overly photographed.  So I went out into the city with my camera and decided to capture the city from a different vantage point.  The night light was a real challenge for the photos.  So here are some pictures of Sharjah in UAE, hopefully showing a different perspective of a city…

 

 

Parts of a whole

This series of photos were taken as an experimentation during a course.  The challenge was to choose a subject and photograph its characteristics without framing the subject as a whole.  It was an interesting assignment and definitely challenging.  The pictures were taken with a manual camera and photographic film.  Given that, there is a limit on how close you can get to the subject without completely losing focus.

And the photo which started it all…my brother playing the guitar… 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge 2012: Hope

This was taken at sunset in Switzerland.  Watching the mountains bathed in sunlight was truly an amazing sight.

This was also taken in Switzerland on a cloudy and rainy evening.  As streaks of sunlight broke through the clouds and onto the landscape below, I was strongly reminded of how ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.  So no matter how cloudy or rainy things get sometimes, sunlight will still break through!

The ruins of the Roman Colosseum in Vatican City.  Close inspection sent shudders through me as I could not help but wonder the fate that met many gladiators here.  This picture is shot at the service area surrounding the Colosseum.  We were told that these were the tunnels through which the animals and the gladiators entered the arena.  One can only wonder what hopes and dreams may have died at the end of these tunnels.  There are many such spaces present even today.  I hope that some day, these too will come to an end.

Kids are amazing!  There was a small pyramid within the Louvre in Paris.  Some kids immediately started scaling this in the hope to reach ‘great heights’.  When one fell the next would attempt.  At some point they were even helping each other hang on.  They really gave a whole other meaning to enthusiasm, teamwork and motivation! 🙂

The Trevi fountain in Rome.  There is a belief that it is a wishing fountain.  Among many other hopefuls, here is another youngster tossing a coin in the hope that all his dreams and wishes come true! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge 2012: Peaceful

Weekly Photo Challenge 2012, Peaceful

Nature in a concrete jungle

It’s very rarely one sees such huge clouds in a ‘desert’ city like Dubai. Luckily I had my camera. Nature was at its best that evening, with clouds rolling across the sky like large cotton masses, and the sun breaking through in bright shafts of light illuminating and bringing to life a city which is otherwise known for its technical and architectural advancements. The huge towers of steel and glass had to submit, and meekly reflected this show of nature’s grandeur. Even the cement and paint structures had to comply as they took on an ethereal quality in this play of light and shadow. It was a true balance of awe and peace, and a reminder that, no matter how many grand concrete structures we create, nature still has its moments…and there is simply no competition!

Aspire

“Life is no brief candle for me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw

Happiness

“The secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it. Once you do this, abundance flows into you life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace. “

The monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma