It’s been just over two weeks since returning from Varanasi in the Uttar Pradesh province of India and for me, it was one of the most extraordinary and memorable trips of my life. The moment I arrived in Delhi before going onto Varanasi I was memorised by it all! The noise and chaos of the streets were what hit me first, with the traffic seemingly criss crossing each other in all directions all at the same time but never colliding, thankfully!
With a day in Delhi before going to Varanasi I decided to take a taxi to view a few of the sights, as we come to a stop amongst the busy traffic a tiny little girl runs to the car window and starts doing backwards walkovers then asks for money, I give her 100 rupees and she darts off into the traffic again. Poverty is soon very apparent as is a noticeable disregard to health and safety.
Arriving in Varanasi I see it is quite literally a photographers paradise and I want to photograph everything, the colours and light is amazing and it’s all so bizarre and beautiful! Walking along the Ganges I saw so much, the Burning Ghats where they cremate the bodies of their loved ones, children selling beautiful little candles set in a little circle of flowers to offer as prayer to the many Gods they have, people bathing and brushing their teeth in the river, probably one of the most polluted waters in the world, the list goes on and I will post another blog with some different photos to show a little more of what the place was like.
However I was here on a workshop led by John Stanmeyer and I needed to decide on a project or story and recount it through a narrative of images.If you read my previous blog post you will have seen I had intended to document the lives of some of the many widows who live in Varanasi but once I’d arrived in this amazing city situated on what’s regarded by Hindus as the most holy river in the world, the Ganges, I decided I wanted to be out and about among the throngs of people who live and work there and the constant commotion that was their everyday life.
That being so, my images portray the movements in Varanasi and also the many street dogs and numerous cows that meander along the busy roads and narrow alleys paying little or no attention to the cars, tuk tuks, rickshaws and bicycles that swerve and move around them. To be able to spend dawn until dusk each day, everyday, simply photographing and editing, was wonderful. Leaving behind the office for a time enabled me to recharge and consider ideas for both my personal photography projects that I’d like to pursue as well as the development of my business.
Perhaps you may be wondering why a wedding photographer would attend this kind of workshop, to me the answer is simple – to make me a better photographer – to bring something different to my wedding photography that wasn’t there before and to help train my eye and really ‘see’, and I’m in no doubt that John has given me the knowledge and understanding to help me achieve this.
On the last night of the workshop each participant presented a slideshow of their work and this is mine, I hope you enjoy the images and get a glimpse of the truly magical place that I was lucky enough to experience.