Travel Photography in India
- By Arun Bhat
- September 24th, 2010
There are few countries like India where you can get plenty of variety on the streets. You would have heard many times over that India is a land of contrasts where extremes can go hand in hand. All you need to do is walk along a few streets, which may show you something really ancient with something very new. Swanky glass buildings can have dilapidated structures as neighbors. Contemporary and traditional can share the same place. Just take your camera and walk on any street and you will be amazed at the variety that you can find, either in people walking next to you or in the structures along the road. Even the people are of such variety that each person may look like he or she belongs to a different race or geographical region. If you intend to make best images that depict India, your neighborhood markets and main streets are the best place to begin.
Add to this is the fact that many people in the country are not camera shy. Although this can’t be generalized, especially so in big cities, you will often see people gladly willing to stop to pose for your camera. Some people, especially at smaller places, may even come and ask you to photograph them. If you are shutterbug in India, your best haunts will be
1. Small towns and villages, where people are still not wary of people with camera.
2. Traditional markets, which can be usually chaotic but have a charm of their own.
3. Religious places: Some well known religious locations which attract lot of pilgrims offer huge opportunities to shoot India’s religious and spiritual richness. Even popular places like Varanasi and Rishikesh – though they are in every photographer’s list for years – still offer new perspectives to everyone who spends time there. When you are in a religious place, always respect the local customs and avoid photographing where not permitted. Photography is usually not permitted in inner shrines of most religious places.
4. Craft centers. Large cities often have places where people practicing certain crafts work in groups in one place. You can find areas where they make hand made pottery, weave silk, produce hand made paper, manufacture glass materials with hand and more. Ask around in your city and you will see that many traditional crafts have remained unchanged for a long time and do not use modern machinery.
5. Cultural performances. Each part of India has its own rich traditions and performances that are different from other parts of the country. Your local listings will tell you about plenty of places where you can shoot practically everyday. Performances are more frequent and elaborate in winter months (November to February) and tend to be infrequent during the monsoons (June to September).
6. India has a great tradition of festivals. While Holi (happens in March-April), Ganesha Festival (August-September) are a great time to see celebrations on the street in most parts of the country, you will also see many local festivals happening in many parts of the country. Lookup festival schedules at India Tourism website and websites of state tourism boards.
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