Saturday, 24 November 2007

Beyond The Frame: Puspa Wresti

Image Copyright © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

This Beyond The Frame post features Puspa Wresti dancers applying their makeup, and readying themselves for a photo-shoot in Kerobokan in Bali.

I arranged a photo-shoot with Puspa Wresti dancers during my Bali: Island of Gods photo-expedition by locating a classical dance school, and convincing its head teacher to make available these young women to photograph in a Hindu temple.

As I wrote elsewhere in this blog, the Balinese people's belief in animism and ancestor worship, in addition to Hindu traditions, governs their everyday life and actions. This was demonstrated to us when -in the middle of the photo-shoot at the temple- one of the dancers suddenly became lightheaded, and had to stop dancing.

During the ensuing discussion with the teacher, I learned that her dancers were reluctant to resume dancing because of their belief that they had offended the temple's spirits...which caused one of them to feel unwell. Here, the sekala niskala was amply in evidence, with the spirit world affecting the physical world, and we had to move the whole troupe to another location.

It is a wise photographer who accepts with respect, humility and understanding other people's belief systems and works within its parameters.