Tag Archives: photo series

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

4 November 2017

Travel Photo Story: Dondi – Penance For Prosperity by Ritesh Ghosh

West Bengal is renowned for its various rites and rituals and is one such ritual among the many. Every year during April this event is executed on the occasion of Shitala Puja. The devotees, particularly women, go through this rigorously self-punishing task to offer their gratitude to the Goddess for keeping them guarded against ill health.
The Goddess is also believed to bless her devotees and help the newlywed women to conceive. Thus infants and children are often seen to accompany their mothers during the course of the ritual.
Kalighat is one such place in Kolkata where you get to witness this event every year. It begins with the devotees taking a dip in the Holy Ganges before taking a mile long walk to the temple of Goddess Shitala. En route, they lie flat face down on the burning hot streets and repeat this several times till they reach the temple premises. The local volunteers pour buckets of cold water on them to prevent the women and children from getting burnt by the hot asphalt.
The event culminates at the temple where the devotees perform a fire ritual by balancing burning clay pots on their heads and hands. It is undoubtedly one of the toughest rituals one can fathom.
I’d like to share some exhilarating and breathtaking moments for your visual understanding.

 

 

Photo Series by Ritesh Ghosh

 

Check out his full feature in June’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#39 – Download Free.

 

 

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Interviews | Photography

2 November 2017

Interview with Photographer: Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

Dr. Tabeenah, a senior journalist, is presently the Bureau Head of Deccan Herald in Rajasthan apart from being a vivid photographer. Born and brought up in the valley of Kashmir, Qureshi pursued her master’s and Ph.D. in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which she now calls her second home.
She chased her passion for photography diligently and went on to win the National Award in Photography conferred by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India. Dr. Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi is the first woman photographer from Rajasthan and Kashmir to bag the imminent award.
Camera for her is a co-traveller as she ventures out to click some of the most stupendous photographs. Her usual style follows the monochrome school of thought. Her work on Kashmir Floods was displayed in APPRA international conference in Kathmandu, in 2015. After completion of her doctorate degree, she was venerated with the prestigious UNICEF Media fellowship under which she researched on ‘Impact of Swachh Bharat Campaign in Tribal areas of Rajasthan’.

Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

– I call it the experiences of ‘a mountain girl wandering in the desert’. I won’t call it matter of chance but I owe a lot to Jaipur, my current residential city for pursuing the hidden passion of Photography. In the second year of my course, 2009, I participated in a three-week photojournalism workshop and that’s how the journey started. That time I did not have a camera to use, so I captured the photographs with the borrowed camera of my teacher Prof, Sanjeev Bhanawat, Head Centre for Mass Communication. It was my first exploration of Jaipur city with a camera. I started seeing new things. I would stop and observe. Looking through the viewfinder was an entirely different experience. When I returned to Kashmir in summer vacations, after seeing some prints of the photographs from the workshop that were later displayed in the exhibition, my parents gifted me a canon digital camera. I would roam around the city, into unknown lanes, revisit places, with my cotraveller. It was like revisiting my birthplace. So all through my vacations I would keep a camera in my bag and photograph everything. Then there was no stopping it. The camera became an ornament for me. I would wear it around my neck and feel proud.

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

– Since photography is not just my profession but a fulfilling hobby and passion. It is a form of expression for me. I teach photography and photojournalism in colleges, university, and schools. It is always good to strike a conversation with new entrants, it feels as if one is revisiting her beginning days.

 

 

Inspiro India: Can you talk about your photo documentaries and ways of working?

– My style is both Documentary and Photojournalistic. Since I am a journalist and end up working on news stories, so gradually it has taken a form in the style of my photography. I love to capture people, subjects from the street, issues and of course, there are traces of abstract photography too in most of my work. For first three years I would capture everything randomly but with time I realized that there should be a body of work.
One major difference between Rajasthan and Kashmir is that the desert is more colourful. In the last 7 years I have travelled to most places in Rajasthan and being a woman photojournalist has helped me in terms of getting lovely portraits of women who otherwise get conscious in the presence of men.
I love black and white photographs. I believe they make our subjects more powerful. But sometimes colours too are important.

 

Inspiro India: How would you describe your photography style?

– Mine is a freestyle photography work. I love to capture emotions, geometry and off course every photograph has a story behind it. Autumn is my favourite month and I have captured it the most, especially crimson chinars in Kashmir. Besides this, I love to capture the bond between generations, women through veils, and practices of faith through photographs.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Tabeenah been doing? What did you aspire to be as a child?

– Well, I think that even in an imaginary world I would be doing exactly what I am doing right now! I say this because recently a friend of mine in Kashmir shared a page of a slam book with me. It mentions that when I had filled that, I was in class 7th. Interestingly, There is a question which says 1. What do you want to become in your life? And my answer which I had completely forgotten was ‘ Journalist, Teacher or a Doctor’. I am blessed that I am all three.
Recently I’ve earned a doctorate degree as well. My thesis was on Social Media. My inspiration to be a teacher came from my mother, the aim to become a doctor comes after seeing my grandfather who was a doctor treating patients, and I wanted to be a journalist because my hometown was always a center of attraction.

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? What camera/s do you shoot with? And your favourite lenses and other equipment that you use?

– To be honest, I don’t do much post-processing. The only bit of contrast and conversion into Black and white. I stick to the basic principles of editing that was allowed in darkroom editing. I use canon 600D, and two lenses 40 mm and 18-135 mm. I bought it in 2013 and have not changed my kit since then. I believe more than the gadget one needs to learn and adapt the art of seeing. Gadgets are important and compositions are important as well. Also, I believe that a creative mentor is important to polish your skills, and for that, I am thankful to my friend and mentor Mr. Himanshu Vyas for being there.

 

Inspiro India: You are the recipient of prestigious 4th National Award in Photography (Amateur category), Conferred by I &B Ministry, Govt of India. Do you believe Awards and recognitions make any difference?

– Yes, that way I have been lucky enough. To some extent, they do make a difference. I believe that one should participate in as many competitions as he/she can. This way your photographic work gets reviewed as well. Otherwise, they just remain confined to our laptops and hard drives.

 

Inspiro India: Your favourite series and story behind it?

– One of my favourite series is on Kashmir flood – ‘Resilience- Kashmir Floods’. A photo story of 24 photographs which were displayed at APPRA international conference in Kathmandu in 2015. I have captured them in the autumn of 2014 when Jhelum breached its banks and swamped not only the golden Chinar leaves that were still falling in Kashmir but just about everything. People, cows, houses, trees…all were swept away by the river, flooded with incessant rains. The strong wooden pillars of Kashmiri homes that were inundated, weakened and worn off.
The photo exhibition was a depiction of life just after floods in a resilient valley. The strength and grace with which the people of Kashmir faced their fate are palpable. Photos show quiet and calm on hurt faces just as there was warm coming together of families and extended relatives. There was a struggle of migration but there’s also peace and surrender manifest at the doors of the shrines.
A year after the valley took one of its worst disasters in its stride; the social, economic and political impact of the floods are now woven into its fabric with some permanence. With a greater degree of permanence, autumn’s ripe in the valley again. As the golden Chinar leaves glide through nippy October air, lotus blooms are smugly afloat, canoes are ferrying & nadru, across and people are patiently rebuilding their lives amidst many rounds of Kahwa. Jhelum is flowing in its familiar rhythm.

 

Inspiro India: You are a journalist and working with a national newspaper, how does your passion help you in your career?

– Well, nowadays, it’s important for a journalist to have knowledge of all fields. It gives me an extra mileage as I can capture photographs from the story I am doing in my newspaper. It is always good if you know both the arts.

 

Inspiro India: Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?

– There are many. Most of them are from the month of Autumn and by the sides of river Jhelum, in Srinagar, one of my favourite and only places to hang out in Kashmir. One photograph has the reflection of houseboats and chinars floating over the river. Then there is one of my initial photographs, a chinar in midair. Also, a frame with chinar on the mouth of Verinag, the source of river Jhelum.

 

 

favourite photograph

Resilience – Kashmir Floods – Photo Series by ©Dr. Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

– There is just one advice, keep clicking and ‘practice patience’. Don’t just treat your subjects merely as elements in your pictures. Try to be friendly with them. Also, I believe that Photography is an art, a photo might take seconds to form but a real good photograph takes sense and a mind of the photographer. Discuss your photographs, with your fellow photographers, friends, and parents. Discuss.

 

Check out his full feature in May’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#38 – Download Free.

 

 

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Photography

31 October 2017

KANDASSANKADAVU: Boat Race | Photo Series By Binto P Anto

The Kandassankadavu Boat Race is a kind of the popular traditional boat race in Kerala, called Vallam Kali. It is held in the Enamakkal Lake and Conolly Canal in Kandassankadavu of Thrissur District, Kerala, India. The race is conducted on the Thiruvonam day of the Onam festival followed by a 10- day festival. The trophy is known as Chief Minister’s ever-rolling Trophy.
Competitions are held for a few specific types of boat categories, namely the Iruttukuthi and Churulan boats. The tradition started in 1955 when the state of Kerala was formed. Due to fiscal problems, the boat race was discontinued by the organisers for a long time. In 2011, with the support of Government of Kerala, Thrissur istrict Tourism Promotion and Manalur Grama Panchayat the race was allowed to commence again. This popular boat race is an absolute delight.
Shot on: Nikon D750 + Tokina 16-28 mm | Tamron 70 – 200 mm.

 

Photos & Words by Binto P Anto

 

Check out his full feature in July’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#40 – Download Free.

 

 

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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Photography

30 May 2017

Portraits Of Punjab | Photo Series by Samar Singh Virdi

Samar Singh Virdi is a freelance photographer from Chandigarh. He is a young creative head who has just finished school and is in the process of getting a college admission. Samar considers himself to be an artist who doesn’t restrict himself to a particular medium as he believes a story should be told in a format which can be justified the best in.

Virdi is the mind the behind Portraits of Punjab which is a collection of personal stories of people across Chandigarh and Punjab. The stories are both intra-personal and interpersonal. His thought process behind the series is to give a piece of his own thoughts and philosophies through his photographs. His true intention behind the project is to work against the Drug Abuse in Punjab. Virdi has been extensively working with Drug Addicts in Rehabilitation centres in Chandigarh and surrounding areas.

The pictures of his highly commendable project will be released soon and he sincerely hopes that the project develops to be powerful enough to bring a change among the youth of the state. He usually shoots his work with his Iphone 6s when he is on impromptu schedules. For high end shoots, he uses his Sony a58 camera. He says it is easier to carry his phone and also believes that his subjects won’t get intimidated by a big camera. He finds it easier to make them feel comfortable with a phone camera.

Samar gets his inspiration from the beauty of life and workings of the universe. He tries to include similar thoughts in his stories that there is nothing greater than the working of the universe. He gives attention to everything that is around him while he is on shoot, everyone who he encounters and all the little surprises he finds on the way. He believes there is no destination but just the journey as he states that he never worries about getting the perfect picture but stays happy with whatever he shoots.

Words by Arvind Vairavan

 

What if you found out that there is no purpose to life ? Would then the destination be as much important as it is now ? Or would the journey become more meaningful ? This thought stuck in my mind when I was shooting the streets of Batala. This particular photograph symbolizes the different stages of a man. An old man sits peacefully, retired from his duties enjoying the small things on the streets. A middle aged man walks through the street on the way to his own commitments and entanglements. A younger man pulls his cart in the sun, working hard towards his desires. Lastly followed by a kid happily dancing and striking a pose in his own rhythm. It is important not to make your dreams and desires a destination but just stations in your journey. Batala may have been my destination but this photograph compelled me to think otherwise.
– Samar Singh Virdi

“It’s all about the business, It really doesn’t matter how I look,” says Suresh. I met him in a local vegetable market and told him how I loved his ultramarine blue jacket, it went well with the cadmium yellow bananas stocked on his cart. He smiled but said he really didn’t care, selling bananas was more important. Talking to Suresh taught me that only those people appreciate fashion who have the resources to do so!
– Samar Singh Virdi

 

The Chaos Theory in fractal mathematics explains how an initially insignificant change in a chaotic system can develop and organize the system itself. A similar theory in the sociological sense is the butterfly effect. I witnessed this when I photographed this particular image. When shooting at the Chandigarh Railway Station, a boy rapidly climbed a bogie and glanced from the other side to communicate with his friend. Little did he know that I noticed his action and advanced to shoot. When I shot the image I realized that how systematically the colors in the photographs were arranged in an alternating pattern of blue and yellow. Surprisingly the color of the boy’s shirt was also blue that matched the train itself. The boy hadn’t realized it but I was lucky enough to witness the little games the universe plays with us. Bringing order from chaos. This was not something I had expected in the chaotic rush hour in the evening!
– Samar Singh Virdi

“I am a fakeer, I don’t have a permanent residence I keep on travelling.” He replied when I asked his name. He was very happy after seeing his photograph he gave me his blessings. The life of a Sadhu or a Fakeer who sacrifice their materialistic life and relations seems very tough for an average human. But it is for the sake of discipline that they choose to do so which further guides them on their spiritual journeys. Fakeers have almost no belongings with them and this is why I thought about how tough it must be for them to survive especially in this monetary system. The ticket of the train seat he was sitting in was only possible because of generosity and kindness of some people!
– Samar Singh Virdi

“My village is far from here, I come to this traffic signal everyday just to play,” says Shankar a Sarangi player. Sarangi is a special instrument as it imitates the human voice. We came across Shankar and told him to sit in our car because the signal turned green. He played a few compositions for us and even sang. Shankar comes to the Kurali traffic signal and boards random buses which stop. He continues to play for the people onboard. He was sincerely happy from the compliments we gave him. Post meeting, I wondered about the subjectivity of happiness. For Shankar, happiness was about making people smile with his music and touch their souls forever, he doesn’t aim to get into bigger music productions. His art is his satisfaction and not what he gets from his art. It is hard to find people like him but I hope everyone reading this finds his/her happiness in life.
– Samar Singh Virdi

Just 10 meters from the National Highway and a 100 meters from a Police Lock up, Sahil (name changed), 21, and Rishabh (name changed), 19, struggle for their daily high. When I thought about addicts and their hideouts I never thought that everything happened within the city itself. In contradiction, their hideout was in a place so unexpected, I could see balconies of houses. Rishabh told me about how it has been difficult to procure some stuff in the previous days. I asked if it was because of the shift in Punjab’s government, he immediately laughed my question off and told me that the government doesn’t matter, there is never a shortage of supply it is only the price that keeps fluctuating. Every April the price surges only because of the Annual reports that the Police Departments have to submit mentioning all the seizes. They become surprisingly strict after a whole year of co-existence. Later while talking to Rishabh (name changed) I found out that the syringe (last post) used is an insulin unit, not something you can find at a chemist. He told me that I should have picked up the syringe for him, they have been in shortage recently. But immediately rejected the advice telling me that of course he would never put that in him as if talking to himself. He then narrated an incident how he had recently visited a chemist in Zirakpur, just to buy one insulin injection. The chemist had him waiting for 45 minutes and then told him that he had to buy the whole pack of injections instead of just one. Rishabh abused profoundly narrating the incident and also rested his case by explaining how helpless he was, neither could he fight with the chemist as they had a bigger network of people at their expense nor could he inform the police! He returned unsuccessful that day. In this photograph, Rishabh is rubbing cannabis leaves on his hands hoping to get some extract to smoke in the evening.
– Samar Singh Virdi

“I have been admitted into three drug de-addiction centers, including the best ones in chandigarh. No one could keep me! I ran away from two of them, the third time I had to complete for name’s sake.” Says Sahil (name changed) recalling his rehabilitation phase. “You have no idea how smart I am.” He stopped walking turned around and put his hand over my shoulder, ” I went to the local park and collected urine of a boy playing in the ground, gave that to the doctors for my daily dope test. They couldn’t find a trace.” It was evident that Sahil was very proud of his move. Unfortunately the drug de-addiction center could not rehabilitate Sahil, even though it was Chandigarh’s most prominent and successful center. Sahil resorted to cannabis while his treatment and relapsed to harder drugs in a months time. In this photograph Sahil is peeling off the cannabis extract he rubbed from the leaves.
– Samar Singh Virdi

Vicky (name changed), An 18 year old addict retires for the day, enjoying his high in the broken remains of the truck. Vicky and Sahil (name changed) both tell me how tiring their day’s activity was. “It is not easy to rub cannabis leaves, the rubbing heats the blood in our body and makes it unhealthy. My arms are paining a lot now, I won’t be able to repeat this for another week.” Said Sahil, I asked him if it was worth the struggle to undergo such physical strain just for some substance, Sahil started laughing and replied that this wasn’t what he wanted but what he has to do, he doesn’t have money like the other rich kids to afford whatever he wants. This is my last photograph from my first segment of my series on the Drug Abuse of Punjab. Will be resuming the series after some time.
– Samar Singh Virdi

Checkout more from this series here #portraitsofpunjab

Photo Series by ©Samar Singh Virdi

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Blog | Photography

7 February 2017

Photo Series : Gay Pride March, Mumbai’17

This was my first Gay Pride March and I was a little excited to shoot the LGBT community . I was expecting a small gathering of around 100 people but what was in utter shock when the turnout of the march came to be more than 2000 people . Here are a few of my shots with the narrative behind them.

The LGBT March was organized by the www.gaypridebombay.org

Photos and words by ©Archit Rege

~ A huge crowd of 1000 people engulfs the Grant Road Bridge as the march begins ~

~ The March saw people coming out and encouraging others to come out with their sexuality to their loved ones. A satin multi-color flag was unfurled and waved with the help of many people. ~

 

~ The view from under the LGBT flag ~

As I was covering the parade from the front, I went and crossed the road and waited at a signal next to a standing Cop. Suddenly a Biker comes and cuts past me and the police officer stops him, The guy replied to let him go as he was late for a meeting, these gay people will take a lot of time. To my surprise, the cop looked at him and said, ‘so what? They are people too, they work too’ and glared back at the biker. He made it clear if he tried to get past him, he will take his license. For me, that was one of the biggest moment of the walk for if a police officer can understand and support someone’s sexuality then why not the Government? The Nation shouldn’t be far behind, after all, the government appoints the police.

~ Sushant Divgikar (centre), Mr Gay India 2014, accompanied by his friends. ~

~ A gay couple proudly display their relationship and support for the LGBT community ~

~ A man holds a signs to show how support for the legal marriage law contradicts our right to equality and freedom even though India has been independent for over 70 years. ~

~ A guy holds the LGBT flag with pride ~

~ Mothers come out to support equality in their initiative called ‘Mother’s for Equality’ and hold signs to support their child irrespective of their sexuality. ~

~ College students joined for equality for doctors. ~

~ A proud father joined the walk to support his son’s sexuality ~

~ A guy wears an angel costume to the gay march ~

~ A cop stalls the traffic on one side and awaited the gay brigade as they started the LGBT march towards Grant Road Station ~

~ Three guys pose with bold costumes and pose for a quick capture. ~

Photos and words by ©Archit Rege

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