Posts Tagged ‘people’

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!

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The Elderly Couple

March 30th, 2011

I saw this scene as I was wandering by the quays somewhere in Paris early last year.

I watched the old couple stroll all the way down that alley, talking as they went. I tried to imagine what their story would be. Are they married, just friends, or both?

More coming soon.

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The Tea Cup

September 1st, 2010

This is a shot from my archives, taken on the plane on the way to Bangalore, India for a wedding in October of last year.

I was setting up to make the portrait of an elderly gentleman and realised that I had packed my speedlights in my suitcase, which was *cough* conveniently in the plane’s hold.

So, I had to work with available light. Must say, not much light on a plane. I ended up switching on every reading light I could find and directing it, so far as possible, in the direction of my subject (which is why there are so many spots of light reflecting in the kind old man’s eyes).

I made a number of test shots, with the kind assistance of my frs. This was one of them. I loved how it turned out.

More coming soon!

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Pigeon Feeding

July 26th, 2010

I made this shot in Paris, in front of the Notre Dame cathedral.

More coming soon!

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Hands II

February 2nd, 2010

Back in September of last year, I began a mini-project to photograph something I felt was relatively neglected and which offers a glimpse at a person’s inner world: hands.

It’s been a while since I added anything along those lines. So here are a couple of shots.

More pictures coming soon!

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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!

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Bangalore Portraits – Part III

December 16th, 2009

Carrying on from Part I and Part II, here are a few more portraits of the great people I met in Bangalore.

I met this family when I stood watching a Sikh procession in celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak (more on that later). I love the way this picture turned out. The son resembles the mum, and the daughter resembles the dad, and the son and mum were facing the same way, and the father and daughter a different way. And yes, they were all sat on one tiny motorbike. As is pretty much standard, only the father wore a helmet, cause that’s the minimum required by law – the driver of a bike must wear a helmet.

Family on a Bike (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/320secs)

This man I met outside a fruit stall on Brigade Street. He’s a retired aircraft engineer who worked 35 years building and designing aircraft for an aircraft manufacturer with operations in India (the name escapes me). He stood proudly to attention while I took this shot. I understand from conversation with him that he’s dedicated his post-retirement life to his religion.

Retired Aircraft Engineer (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f6.3, ISO 200, 1/125sec + flash SB900)

One of the ladies I met in Cubbon Park. She and her friends were collecting wood.

Wood Collector (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 35mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/30sec)

This is Mubashir. He’s a Muslim Indian from Kashmir who, along with his brothers, own and run a store called Asian Arts Emporium (located on 8 Cunningham Road). They sell some very fine silk (for saris and dresses), and all sorts of interesting arts and crafts. I visited their store twice with friends and made a goodly number of purchases.

We ended up having long and very interesting conversations with Mubashir. I particularly enjoyed our conversations about Islam. It’s a shame that Islam as it should be: one of peace, faith, humility, dignity in the face of adversity and enduring human kindness; does not seem to appeal to the popular media. That’s why the patience and warmth of people like Mubashir is important.

The conversations we had with Mubashir also brought the sheer breadth and variety of India to the fore – he doesn’t speak Kannada, the prevalent language in Bangalore, an requires a translator when dealing with Bangaloreans. The sheer number of languages and dialects spoken in India is staggering. You can find out more here.

Mubashir (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

This man encouraged the mapseller to stand for her portrait and then happily agreed to stand for his own.

The Mapseller's Cheerleader (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/50sec + flash SB900)

This woman appeared silently while I stood at the gateway to a temple on a street off Commercial Street taking pictures of the temple grounds within. She allowed me to shoot the temple, even invited me in to do so. However, I didn’t wish to intrude and so remained at the gate to snap a few shots. I then asked her if I could take her portrait. She graciously acquiesced, but remained at distance. I was struck by the peace in her kind eyes.

The Temple Keeper (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 1000, 1/80sec)

This here is The Park Hotel‘s one and only Raja Gopal. I thought of rendering this picture in black & white. But I liked the colour of his dastaar (Sikh headdress).

Raja! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 65mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/80sec)

Meet the Liftman. This fine chap took me on a few rides up and down in the elevator of a building off Brigade Street.

Elevator Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100sec + flash SB900)

More pictures coming soon!

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National Day Celebrations

December 4th, 2009

So on December 2nd – UAE National Day – I was invited by a friend to her house for a cosy party with a view. A view on to the madness on the streets below and (eventually) the fireworks.

The party was a giant success. Seen from the outside, as one of my good friends who was there mentioned, it likely would have seemed somewhat odd – It was a party which: was organised by Italian-speaking Lebanese; for Italians; who were served traditional homemade Lebanese food; and all in celebration of the 38th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. Hehe.

Anyway, pictures.

Evidently, I took my camera and gear. Now while my friend’s apartment has a great view onto the Corniche, it has no balcony, and the windows wouldn’t open beyond a 5 degree angle. I tried the roof, but it was entirely walled around, with tiny arches affording limited views onto the street below through metal grating. Not so great for taking pictures.

So at around the time the fireworks were set to start, I grabbed my camera gear (and one of my fellow guests), and hurried down to brave the madness of the crowds.

Everybody and their grandmother seemed to be out on the Corniche. All nationalities, all social circles. Everybody. The streets overflowed with humanity out to celebrate with the Emiratis and have a good time. Entire families were out picnicking  on the grass by the side of the road. Party hats and flags and foam spray cans were all over the place.

Every year, I find myself surprised by how quickly a nation – this nation – was built. How quickly Emiratis built a sense of national identity and pride. And I was proud to be out among them in this country that’s given me everything to celebrate with them.

Right. Pictures.

I was in a rush to get to get to the beach at the Hiltonia before the fireworks started and so didn’t really spend as much time shooting on the streets as I’d otherwise would have liked.

Nevertheless, here are a few shots from the streets:

As always, it was particularly fascinating to see the overdecorated cars making the rounds at snails pace, music blaring.

The Decked-Out Car (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

We even spotted horses and riders!

Horses! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Mad Hatter (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 6400, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Even bikes were decked out!

Decked Out Bikes (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

This Jeep just halted in the middle of the road:

Halt I Say! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f11, ISO 200, 6secs)

The Policeman At The Crossing (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f14, ISO 200, 6secs)

Stalled Party Goers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/4sec)

I managed to get to the beach front and set up just in time to catch the very first of the fireworks.

I was particularly excited as I’d never shot fireworks before and was looking to try my hand and experiment. I’m still sorting through the shots I’ve taken – haven’t seen them all yet – but here is a small selection.

Fireworks 1 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3sec)

Fireworks 4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 5 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 6 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 7 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 8 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 9 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3secs)

Fireworks 10 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3secs)

Fireworks 11 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 12 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 13 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 14 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/2sec)

Here’s a shot from a place I’d been meaning to shoot for a long time now and never got around to: the tunnel leading from the Hilton to the Hiltonia beach across the road. This young woman came walking down the tunnel alone and the whole scene came together like a charm.

Girl & Tunnel (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/13sec)

More pictures coming soon!

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Bangalore Portraits – Part II

December 2nd, 2009

Here are a few more portraits of the interesting people whose paths crossed mine in the short time I spent in Bangalore.

In colour, this time (well, mostly).

I met these men on a side street off Commercial Street. They were deep in conversation. I liked the symmetry of the two men on the benches, and the determined, but kind, air of the man standing by the door. I paused to say hullo, and asked if I could take their picture.

Three Men and a Door (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4, ISO 200, 1/125sec)

If you notice, the door has a decorative Hindu form of the swastika symbol. This should not be confused with the Nazi variant. It’s use in the Asian subcontinent can represent a range of things depending on the context, the direction it facing and the religion (it’s a sacred symbol in each of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Mithraism). It is commonly associated with evolution, stability (as it faces in each of North, South, East and West), and even the movement of the sun. You can find out more here.

Below are drum sellers, father and son. I met them on a street parallel to Commercial Street. The son spent a good deal of time trying to convince me to buy a drum from him. At an outrageous price, no less. I whittled him down to less than a tenth of his initial asking price (no joke) but, I mean, what use do I have for a drum? I told him so, and offered to take his picture instead. He agreed, and I took a few portraits of him alone, and then of him with his father.

He still insisted that if I wasn’t about to buy a drum off him, then at least I should give him some money so he could feed himself and his dad. He insisted on being given money. But when we spotted a fruit seller, I was happy to offer him and his father a salad.

The Drum Sellers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/100sec)

Here is the fruit seller as he cut up a pineapple preparing the salad for the drum sellers:

The Fruit Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 35mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/200sec)

There were quite a few fruit sellers pushing carts along on the streets of Bangalore.

Rolling Along (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/320sec)

When heading back towards Commercial Street on another small side street, I came across a little tailor’s shop. It had no door and was entirely open onto the street. I stopped for a quick hello and the tailors paused for a few moments in their work for a few pictures.

Here are two of the resulting portraits:

The Tailor I (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 78mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

The Tailor II (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec)

This woman accosted me at the top of Commercial Street as I was waiting for a few friends to join me. She tried to sell me a map of India. I convinced her to let me take a picture of her instead.

She disappeared before I could take a closer shot of her face.

The Map Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/250sec + flash SB900)

This man and his tuk-tuk which was overflowing with blue sacks hauled up alongside our car at a junction:

Tuk-Tuk Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, f3.8, ISO 200, 1/500sec)

I spotted this woman as we passed down a busy street. I loved the colours of the posters, and the odd mix of religious  and other subjects. If you notice, she’s holding a young child in her lap, partially covered in her sari.

The Poster Seller (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec - slightly cropped)

More pictures coming soon!

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Bangalore – Slices of Life – Part I

November 28th, 2009

Bangalore is a busy and bustling place. It’s a city that has grown enormously in recent years to become the IT heart of India.

I tried to capture as much of the life and spirit of the city as I could in the short time I was there. Unfortunately, time was very limited and traffic was so frustratingly bad it took forever to get from place to place. The end result was that what I saw of  Bangalore was mostly what zipped, or crawled, by a car window.

I spotted this mother and daughter as they were heading home from school:

Heading Home From School (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 65mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/640sec)

Seen off a side street leading onto Commercial Street:

Moped Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/400sec)

I wonder what he’s got in that sack of his…

It was interesting seeing how Hindu neighbourhoods were followed by Muslim neighbourhoods. The differences between the neighbourhoods tended to range from the subtle … to the less subtle. Take the shot below, for example:

Hubby & Wife (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/1000sec)

Seems the sun does occasionally shine in darkened places. Seen in an underpass:

Sunny Side Up (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/2000sec)

This was taken from the car, while waiting our turn at a junction. The tuk-tuk/auto driver and I rolled our eyes at the traffic and exchanged smiles before I took this.

Drag Racing (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 70mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/80sec)

I spotted this man sweeping the streets on the other side of the road:

Sweeper Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/125sec)

A fruit stall on Brigade Street:

Fruits! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 75mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/125sec)

I loved the brightness of the colours.

We met these friendly people around the bustling entrance to Cubbon Park, by the exit to the courts:

People Outside Cubbon Park (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO 200, 1/80sec)

This woman was sweeping away dead leaves in one of the small gardens just off Cubbon Park:

Sweeper Lady (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 68mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/320sec)

This is probably one of the odder sights I saw in Bangalore. I have no idea why this man why carrying a dummy…

Dummy-On-A-Stick Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/160sec)

More pictures coming soon!

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