Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

The Coconut Vendor

April 9th, 2011

This portrait was made in Hyderabad, India, as I took a stroll in the early evening. Makeshift stalls were everywhere on the crowded streets, with vendors selling their wares as people celebrated the Makar Sankranti harvest festival.

To me this picture represents the innate kindness and generosity of people. The small kindness of strangers, and how the smallest of things – a smile – can allow people to open up to others. This lady initially tried to sell me some coconuts, and after a smile and a laugh were exchanged, she handed me a flower as a token of the festival season.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in People, Portraits, Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

Bangalore Portraits – Part IV

January 17th, 2010

This here is the last post featuring portraits I made in Bangalore. You can check out the previous instalments in the series here: Part I, Part II and Part III.

This here is Ganesh. Yep, like the Hindu deity. He is one of the guards at the Bangalore Palace. He was standing to attention outside the entrance for hours, gently smiling to the wedding guests as they flitted by.

This gentleman and his rather large collection of oversized hats came up to our vehicle at one point as we were waiting in traffic.

I came across this friendly dude as he was on his break, just off Commercial Street.

This is Azam. He owns and runs a fruit store called Fresh Fruits on Brigade Street. He is one of the kindest and friendliest people I met in Bangalore.

I’d stopped outside his stall with a few frs, one of whom wanted to try out, and buy, some rare Indian fruit. Azam was happy to walk us through a range of different fruits, telling us where each one came from and what made it special. Then he would cut out slices of each fruit and hand them to us to try. He wasn’t pressing us to buy anything from him. He was just happy to introduce us to the variety of fruits that India has to offer.

At one point as he was talking, a beggar came up to our party and signed to us for some alms. Azam, without interrupting his explanations, and without making any show of it, reached behind him and selected a fruit, making sure it was ripe, and then handed it to the beggar with a slight nod. It was done so naturally and quietly that no-one else in my party noticed.

Be sure to visit this extraordinary man at his fruit shop the next time you’re in Bangalore.

One of the first things I would go on about to most anyone who would listen upon my return from Bangalore was the amount of colour! The wedding itself was incredible on its own, but even everyday wear was so full of rich bright colour. For example, take this gent, his wife and his textiles. He’d set up shop off a tiny side-street off Commercial Street. I used flash in the shot below to make their eyes pop.

I couldn’t not make a portrait of this woman. She was sat by her lonesome in a pile of rubbish on a side-street off Commercial Street.

This coconut seller expertly chopped up a number of coconuts for our thirsty party. When we were done sipping the refreshing milk, he then chopped each coconut in half, carved out a makeshift spoon with one chop of his machete, scooped out the tender pulp out of one half and piled it into the other before handing them back to us (with spoon).

These three boys, who put me in mind of some scene from Slumdog Millionaire, accosted me and a friend outside a building on a street just off Brigade Street. They wanted to shine our shoes. We politely declined. The boys didn’t insist, and made ready to leave. But there was something about the eldest boy that called to me. Something about the kindness in his beautiful eyes. I suggested to them that while I couldn’t pay for their services, I could make their portrait. They agreed and patiently waited a few minutes for me to pull out my camera and set up. Then the eldest brought the younger two closer and held them. I showed them the picture afterwards (I love that about digital cameras) and they thanked me and moved on. The youngest called out to me just moments later, pointing to some bags of potato chips (that’s crisps to you if you’re British) hanging in the display of a tiny store. I think the most heartless would have found it impossible to resist getting a few bags for them. Shortly thereafter, after the boys had moved on, my friend pointed something out to me that I’d missed out on completely: they had sought to shine our shoes, but they themselves were barefoot.

Of all the pictures I made in India – in fact, of all the pictures I made throughout 2009, quite possibly since I first put eye to camera viewfinder – I am proudest of this picture.

More pictures coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Portraits | Comments (0)

Bangalore – Slices of Life – Part III

December 26th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I and Part II, here is the next instalment of shots stolen here and there on the streets of Bangalore.

So much of life in Bangalore happens on the streets. More so perhaps than in other places. Hopefully, Parts I and II have gone some way as to demonstrate this.

This man seems to have set up a clothes stall on a foldaway bed by a construction site. Seen on a side street off Commercial Street.

BangaloreSofLIII-2

A building seems to have been demolished recently on this plot of land. Much of the rubble has been cleared away, allowing cows and people to adopted it for somewhat similar uses. Well, perhaps not entirely similar uses. The cows just chill and do whatever it is that cows that have no demands on their time do, while the men face the wall for some more … private business. Seen on a side street off Commercial Street.

BangaloreSofLIII-4

One thing about Bangalore is that there appears to always be heavy traffic on the streets. There didn’t appear to be any time of day when it eased up.  It was either bad, or very bad.

Here, a few workers relax and joke as they sit in the back of a truck.

BangaloreSofLIII-14

Interestingly, the vast majority of vehicles on the roads were either tuk-tuks or motor bikes.

Take a look at this long line of motorbikes, stretching to the end of the street as far as the eye can see. It’s not uncommon to see sights like this, or to come across a parking lot overflowing with motorbikes.

BangaloreSofLIII-1

And here, looking like they’re about to race, a line of tuk-tuks and motorbikes.

BangaloreSofLIII-7

I wanted to get more of a sense of the noise and chaos on the streets. So I turned to night shots. I thought the longer exposures required for them would help me get the feel I was going for. Unfortunately, I only really had one opportunity for those – when in a car heading to the wedding reception on the last night of my stay in Bangalore. I was riding shotgun, so that helped.

Here are a few of the resulting shots.

Bangalore By Night-4

A motorbike swerves around a car and streaks on.

Bangalore By Night-3

Bangalore By Night-2

More pictures coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (1)

Bangalore Slices of Life Part II

December 12th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I, here are some more shots stolen here and there from the streets of Bangalore.

I came across this scene in a side street off Commercial Street. The woman is sitting in a pile of trash, out of the sun, while the dog lay sunning itself in the middle of the narrow street.

The Lady & the Tramp  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f4.8, ISO 200, 1/400secs)

A fruit stall. Taken while the fruit seller prepared the salad for the drum sellers whose portrait you can see here.

The Mobile Fruit Stall  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 36mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/800secs)

Some places have a newspaper stand every few meters. Others have telephone boxes. Bangalore has fruit sellers. Some have stalls, others drive carts, and yet others bikes…

Fruit Selling  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 44mm, f4.2, ISO 200, 1/1250secs)

The finest transportation known to man:

Tuk-Tuk! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/640secs)

Seen in Cubbon Park.

Reaching for the Sun  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/640secs)

Seen at a crossing.

MotoCross  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 70mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/640secs - HDR)

This is High Point Tower. Not exactly very tall, is it?

High Point *cough*  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/3200secs)

I liked the bright red of the sheet in front of the stall.

Snacking Red  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/80secs)

This Tuk-Tuk was rolled over on its side by its driver, who lay underneath fixing it while a colleague looks on.

Tuk-Tuk Takes a Dive  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f5.3, ISO 200, 1/1000secs)

The very beginning of Commercial Street. Somebody seems to have forgotten to take their rubble with them once done demolishing whatever it was they were demolishing. Instead, they left the pile of rocks and dirt in the middle of the street… I waited for the bike to flit into the frame before snapping the shot.

Biker & Rubble  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/400secs)

Seen at a fruit stand on Brigade Street:

Fruity  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100secs)

I was struck by the incongruity here. Trash piled up on the sidewalk and overflowing onto the street, while nearby an empty bin proudly displays an emblem of consumerism and globalisation.

Trashed  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f8, ISO 200, 3 exposures - HDR))

Matching Coconuts. For some reason, I don’t think the term “Matching Centre” in India has the same connotations as in the West. Of course, I could be mistaken…

Matchmaker  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/250secs)

More pictures coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (1)

A South-Indian Wedding

December 8th, 2009

Entrance to Bangalore Palace (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/800sec)

Quite a few of you have been waiting for the Bangalore Wedding pictures.

So here they are!

As one of my fellow guests said: “Our eyes were full of colour”. I think the pictures speak for themselves so I’ll be keeping comments to a minimum.

I may just give some context - shamelessly lifted from a card we were given at one of the events which explained the festivities, rituals and their significance in brief.

The wedding ceremony starts with the bride being escorted in a procession to the Mantapam (the decorated stage on which the ceremony is to take place). Friends and family take part. The procession is led by bridesmaids carrying brass pots filled with rice and coconut on the left and bridesmen carrying ceremonial umbrellas on the right. I understand that generally, they are dressed in all manner of colours, but this time was different – the bridesmaids were in beautiful green saris, and the men in white silk robes. For the most part, that is. If I’m not mistaken there was one bridemaid alone who hadn’t been issued with her green sari – and wore a beautiful white one instead. The men also had one stand-out: Me. On my arrival, one of the bride’s uncles pulled me aside and handed me a ceremonial umbrella. When I objected, pointing out the red kurtha I wore, he said: “nevermind that, we want you here”. I couldn’t begin to express how touched I was by that gesture – at being asked to participate in, and not simply attend, my friend’s wedding.

Once the bride is settled on the Mantapam, and the groom arrives, he too is escorted along with his friends and family to the Mantapam in a procession led by the same bridesmaids and men. That complete, we were all led onto the Mantapam as well, and sat to the right of the stage to watch the ceremony. The wedding hall was massive, with seating perhaps for thousands in front of the stage, but I felt that it was a cosy ceremony in which there was just us, we few on the Mantapam.

Evidently, I took no pictures of the processions and the initial part of the ceremony as my camera wasn’t with me, and I couldn’t anyway. Ali – am so grateful to him – the fine gent to whom I’d handed the camera for safekeeping – came up to the stage and handed me the camera early on. Thanks to him, I got the chance to take these pictures you see here. And from a different angle to that of the photographers clustered stage front.

I was struck by how similar some of the rituals and concepts evident in this beautiful South Indian wedding are to those in other cultures. For instance – the raining of Akshatha (rice) on the happy couple – common to Christian and Muslim weddings. Also, the three rounds the couple effected around the holy fire during the wedding ceremony proper, which echoes the three rounds around the altar in some Christian (notably Orthodox and Greek Catholic) wedding ceremonies (called the Dance of Isaiah). I understand that this is a ritual that predates Christianity. The various explanations given for the three rounds in each culture and religion may vary, but the symbolism remains the same – the newlyweds taking their firsts steps together as one.

Anyway. Enough talk. Picture time!

Above, the entrance to Bangalore Palace on the morning of the wedding. Below, one of the line of drummers who greeted us at the entrance to the palace.

Drummer Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/160sec)

Welcome Drummers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/200sec)

This lady’s long hair was bedecked in jasmine. A lovely sight.

Dressed up in Jasmine (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/30sec)

One of the trumpeteers who preceded the bride.

The Trumpetter Cometh (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4, ISO1000, 1/160sec)

The lovely bride, looking regal.

The Regal Bride (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/160sec)

The Blessing (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Here, the bride and groom after holy water was poured on their hands during the Dhare. The Dhare is the prayer ritual which follows the wedding ceremony proper. Prayers are offered to Agni, the Lord of Fire, who dispels darkness and leads the way to the light of wisdom and knowledge.

Holy Water (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f5.3, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 1 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Colour and Smiles (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f4.8, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Garlanding the Brother of the Bride (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 105mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

This is one of a series of saffron mounds, seen between the groom and bride. These were crushed by the bride during the ceremony.

Saffron Cone (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

The Groom (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/320sec)

An ecstatic bride and groom during the one of the rounds of the saptapadi (the seven rounds around the holy fire).

A Round Around The Fire (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/320sec)

I loved that although the wedding was such a detail-rich series of rituals and symbolism, steeped in the traditions of a millenia-rich culture, there so much room for joy in it:

Heaping up the Offerings (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

I can easily say it was the most beautiful and moving weddings I have yet attended.

In closing, here’s another picture from the Bangalore Palace grounds. Now, this isn’t strictly speaking wedding related – but the cannon was just sitting there outside the Palace gates, looking all cannon-y. Couldn’t resist. Hehe.

The Cannon (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/500sec)

More pictures coming soon! Including pictures of my favourite wedding-related event – the giving away ceremony!

P.S. Any errors in the descriptions of the ceremony and rituals are mine own alone. Please do feel free to clarify if you like.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (5)

Creative Commons License
Ziad Salloum Photography & The Desert Jerboa by Ziad Salloum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.ziadsalloumphotography.com.