Bangalore Portraits – Part I

November 12th, 2009

People are so interesting.

I know, I’ve said this before. Remains true.

When in Bangalore, I tried to as much as possible share a moment or two with the people whose paths crossed mine.

Some were hawkers, who tried to sell their wares. I aimed to establish some kind of rapport. I’d smile, chat with them a bit, point to my camera and tell them that while I couldn’t purchase what they were selling, I’d be happy to take their picture. None refused.

Others our eyes met while walking in the street, or while in the car awaiting the traffic ahead of us to move. A smile and a nod go a long way.

Here are some of the portraits I took of these diverse and very interesting people whose paths crossed mine in my few short days in the amazing city that is Bangalore.

And this batch is all in black and white!

I met this man while walking in Cubbon Park. He stood by quietly by as my friends and I chatted and took pictures with a group of women who were busy collecting fallen tree branches and collecting them into bundles before porting them off. He had such expressive eyes. Had to take his portrait.

Cubbon Park Hubby (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 120mm, f5.6 , ISO 200, 1/60sec)

This guy pulled up alongside the car I was in. He struck me as a little odd as he was wearing a wool sweater and woolen headgear under his helmet. Note that the weather we experienced in Bangalore is some of the finest anywhere. A cool 25-28 degrees centigrade. No call for sweaters of any kind…

Motorcycle Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 78mm, f5.6 , ISO 200, 1/60sec)

These two good-natured gents also pulled up alongside the car I was in. The rules in Bangalore are interesting. Most everyone’s on a moped. Sometimes piled up four or five-strong to a moped that didn’t look like it would even carry one. The good thing is that all moped drivers are obligated to wear a helmet, or face a heavy fine. Passengers tho? I guess different rules apply there. Not a one I saw wore a helmet…

Biker Dudes (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 38mm, f4.2 , ISO 200, 1/60sec)

This man I glimpsed on the corner of a road as the car I was in sped down it. Our eyes met as I was hanging out of the window trying to take a shot of something, and we both laughed. (incidentally, I failed to get the shot of that other thing.) I caught this one as the car turned the corner.

The Happy Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f7.1 , ISO 200, 1/400sec - cropped)

I’d been told to avoid talking with policemen in Bangalore, as they’d mostly consider anyone with a big camera as suspicious (true enough in most cases, as it turned out). I broke the rule when I saw this policeman walking down the road by Cubbon Park. His partner refused to have anything to do with us, but he lingered for a quick chat, and a portrait. I’m so happy this picture turned out well in black and white, as the colour variant had the colours all washed out from overexposure.

It proved a fair challenge getting the exposures right in India when taking shots of people as they’re often quite dark of skin! Who’d have thought that would be a problem? A fair few shots came out with everything properly exposed, except for peoples’ faces and features, which came out so dark as to have lost all definition. Getting their faces properly exposed made everything else get blown out. Odd. But I learnt to adapt to it.

Sad Eyed Policeman (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f4.8 , ISO 200, 1/500sec)

This is one of the few times when I didn’t wait for permission from someone before taking their picture. The moment would have passed and the expression on his face would have changed. I wonder what he was thinking about so forcefully.

Man at Lunch (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6 , ISO 1000, 1/60sec)

This is Abbas. He’s an Iranian student, studying dentistry in a university in Bangalore. I met him while wandering around a side street off Brigade Street with a friend. We wanted to know why while there are plenty of dogs and cows all over the place in Bangalore, we’d seen no cats. The most common explanation we’d received were the dogs did away with the cats… Abbas had no idea, but we ended up having a pleasant chat in the shade of a tree.

Abbas the Dental Student (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 62mm, f8 , ISO 200, 1/100sec + flash SB900)

This was the cabbie who took us around on the day we went to visit the ISCON temple and Cubbon Park. We nicknamed him 15-Minute Man, for whenever we’d ask him how long it would take us to get to a particular destination from where we were, he’d invariably reply with a big smile: “15 minutes!” He was great fun, regaling us with the occasional joking comment in broken English or explanations on the sights around us as he drove, weaving through traffic and beeping his horn every few seconds.

15 Minute Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 68mm, f5.0 , ISO 200, 1/1250sec)

More pictures coming soon!


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Posted in Portraits | Comments (8)

8 Responses to “Bangalore Portraits – Part I”

  1. Zooey Says:

    Yay!!! Amazing captures!!! I’m in love with the 4th one. The smile is so genuine. The woman with a child behind complimented the whole thing and made him look like a good dad. I remember when I first saw your previous portraits I knew instantly that that was your forte and you have never at all failed to amaze me.
    P.S. 6th photo, the guy scared the shit outa me. looks like he just had those green hot pepprs and run out of water.
    He must learn how to keep his kewl seriously 🙂

  2. Z! Says:

    Thx Zooey! Glad you enjoyed them. Yep – you’re right! Although I enjoy taking pictures of landscapes, I’m happiest when making portraits. 😀

  3. Tamara Says:

    Our driver was the “1 hour” man….it took us 1 hour to get everywhere! Love your pics by the way. Truly stunning shots.

  4. Z! Says:

    Thanks so much Tamara! Very happy you enjoyed the photos! 🙂

  5. The Desert Jerboa » Blog Archive » Bangalore Portraits – Part II Says:

    […] colour, this time (well, […]

  6. The Desert Jerboa » Blog Archive » Bangalore Portraits – Part III Says:

    […] on from Part I and Part II, here are a few more portraits of the great people I met in […]

  7. The Desert Jerboa » Blog Archive » Bangalore – Slices of Life – Part IV Says:

    […] You can see portraits of some of the group here and here. […]

  8. The Desert Jerboa » Blog Archive » Bangalore Portraits – Part IV Says:

    […] portraits I made in Bangalore. You can check out the previous instalments in the series here: Part I, Part II and Part […]

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