Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Asim Rafiqui: The Kerala Journeys

Photo © Asim Rafiqui -All Rights Reserved

A few weeks ago, I had just returned from my Tribes of South Rajasthan & Kutch Photo~Expedition™, and felt that I hadn't done enough in terms of street photography in the Kutch area of Gujarat.

I, rather ludicrously, expected to photograph non-stop in its small villages that had seen few (if any) foreign tourists and when that didn't happen, I had to content myself with a some frames here and there. Back in New York City, and still cursing my bad luck, I chanced on a post by Asim Rafiqui, in which he describes his street photography in Lucknow as follows:
"And in the rare moments when something close to a photograph does appear I keep ruining it with poor timing, inappropriate angles or by being club footed and lumbering towards it so slowly that the moment is gone. Yesterday I had waited nearly 3 hours for a frame, arousing suspicions among the many shopkeepers who had patiently tolerated me and my cameras on the corner of their street, and then missed it when it seemed to come together!"
Three hours for a frame! And Asim is one of the better photographers I have come across. So I swallowed my curses, and realized that this is what it takes...this is reality...and street photography and paparazzi-style travel photography are miles apart.

Because of such gems, I am a frequent follower of Asim Rafiqui's The Idea of India project. An extraordinarily erudite, both intellectually and visually, blog in which he examines traditions of social and religious sharing which still exist in India, reports on shared sacred sites like major Sufi dargahs where Hindus and Muslims co-pray and on religious festivals which evolved past their sectarian sources and welcome participants of all beliefs and faiths. A veritable cornucopia for those of us who are eager for deeper understanding of the roots of current events.

The latest blog entry is titled The Kerala Journeys. This is what street photography is all about.