I AM IN INDIA!
An intense change from Seattle. The first sensations were the warmth, comfort for my body & muscles relaxing. The smells of wood burning fires, everywhere there is a thin base layer of wood fired pollution and you can see it in and on everything like a thin blue haze, then there are the devotional smells of incense and other ceremonial smells, and then after that is car pollution and somewhere in the mix is the stench of human waste and social waste- unfortunately plastic bags aren’t banned here yet, so they account for a vast amount of the visual blight. The the most potent sensation for me has been the sound. Oh how amazing and dimensional the sounds of the city are. In the inner suburbs of Bhopal where I am staying, I can get to the roof of the house which is about 4 stories high and I can listen in full three dimensionality of all the sounds both immediate and further away because there is no Interstate highways here to dampen everything else down. The simple sounds of human voices, the Call to prayer in Bhopal’s any number for 2000 mosques, the sounds of low flying jets, and of course the whine of the ubiquitous two-stroke engine and the myriad of colorful car horns designed to get you out of the way regardless of which side of the road you are on..
Stray dogs, like Dingos, fill the spaces between the mad clumps of humans and even rarer are cats, I saw one sprinting across the road yesterday whilst walking through the neighborhood, a rapid black thing moving with purpose, unlike the dogs with their curly tails and insouciant ways, you can see how they roam and get a greater understanding of how the dog evolved into the socially adherent animal it is today, here where dogs arent typically kept as pets or are considered a luxury.
Im dealing with the vestiges of jet-lag and in these secluded times I can concentrate on writing here, or processing images while hearing the mosquito sine-wave through my synapses and occasionally enjoy a snack on some new meat.
I arrived in on Tuesday Jan 15th at around 9pm from a blink of an eye flight from Delhi via a twin turbo prop. The flight was so short because I simply got to my seat and fell asleep before I had time to put on my seatbelt, and I woke up in Bhopal the airport is nice modern structure really only designed to hold an office a toilet and a baggage claim all with walk through security, unlike Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport with has more security & idiotic bureaucracy then Ive ever seen anywhere else on the planet. Yesterday was my first full wake up day in the new land, it was supposed to be my slow-entry day into a new reality, I guess I didn’t need it. My friend and reason to be in India, and who’s house Im staying in, introduced to me a very bright young spark by the name of Hari who is in administrating tech-support, and is wildly eagre to impress the irishman from America, he took me to the roof and showed me what the area looked like from the higher vantage point.The warm air and sounds made an impressive immersion into the new reality. I was brought Tea. We chatted, made plans spoke of the future and then left the house and caught a TukTuk to see an illustrious environmentalist friend to talk about a project. After that we went to see an Artist and discuss an alternative project on folk music and the loss of tradition, a problem thats becoming increasingly furious everywhere. Then we went to the Afghan Cafe in downtown Bhopal and had an amazing ‘snack’ served to us by a beautiful Afghani man with piercing black eyes and long black hair. Amazing food, marinated tandoori lamb, curried fish, Paresh meat (afghani meat dishes), yogurt and mint, Mint naan, red onion (mild onion) with lime etc etc etc all this amongst the chaos of pollution scooters two-stroke tuktuks and anything else that can shit out more carbon then a factory…
I don’t really show the pictures of the people that interest me the most because I don’t think I have the narrative to back it up in its own right yet, and flickr isn’t the forum for that work either, I’ve kind of dug myself into a hole there withe whole street and what I defined as the kind of street I wanted in Seattle Street and which has generally become accepted as an acceptable version of that decisive, contemplative, gag, style, which doesn’t really rely on any level of intellectual insight to understand or appreciate, the pictures of the people I am really drawn to are highly reliant on my audience being open to seeing something that they normally don’t even register and having their attention drawn to it, ..and so it’s been my belief that my Audience is infact not American at all.
See Street photography has become about shooting the oddities and the highlights of the everyday or at least that’s the premise; using the “everyday” as an excuse to make pictures of things that stand out of that “everyday” entity which really doesn’t mean what it is in that context anymore. Look at the London Street Photography festival as it stands now, at 3 years old, and all of the pictures have a basic sameness to them and a sensationalism to them which irritates me now.