Wednesday, 6 April 2011

My Work: The Possessed of Hazrat Mira Datar

The most powerful and challenging traditional rituals I've experienced in India are the exorcisms and trances that frequently occur in its Sufi shrines. This is by far the most emotionally draining project I've undertaken so far...photographing it, editing it and producing it.

The Possessed of Hazrat Mira Datar is an audio slideshow of stills, movie clips and audio made during my during my recently completed In Search of the Sufis of Gujarat Photo Expedition™ when I visited this Sufi saint's shrine near Unawa in Gujarat.

I've always been interested in, and drawn to, India's multi-layered religious-cultural identities. Sufism "walked" into the sub-continent from Iran and Afghanistan, and wherever the Sufi acetic teachers lived and died, shrines were built to commemorate their teachings, deeds and legacy. They eventually became saints, or pirs as they're called in the subcontinent. It is at one of these shrines that The Possessed of Hazrat Mira Datar was made.

For those who don't mind reading, a journal/blog accompanies the audio slideshow and has more photographs (in color this time). It was a difficult decision as to whether color or black & white would be more appropriate for this project, and in the end I decided to use both, but separately. I think I was right.