|Photo © Javad Tizmaghz-All Rights Reserved|
It's been a while I haven't featured the work of a photojournalist, and here's the work of Javad Tizmaghz, an Iranian photographer specializing in documentary photography, and currently based in Malaysia. His work was published in a number of publications, including the Guardian. He is also an alum of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2011 which was held in Chiang Mai.
I was attracted to Javad's photo story on the cock fighting in Indonesia, and chose the above photograph for this post because of the similarity in man's eyes and that of his rooster...and to me, this made the picture.
Javad's Tajen documents the Balinese tradition of cockfighting (which is known locally as Tajen) is mixed with religious rituals. Cockfights, while technically illegal, are required at temple and purification ceremonies. The local police is loath to prevent such bouts since the prevailing belief is that these are protected by the deities of the temples. There are ancient texts proving that the cockfighting ritual has existed for centuries, so Balinese police can legitimately look the other way.
I have featured a number of cockfighting photo essays on my blog, including my own. It's usually a male-only spectator/participant kind of venue, and when I walked in the site during one of the fights, followed by a number of female photographers who were in my photo workshop group, there was a noticeable silence amongst the crowd. However, the excitement of the bouts soon seduced the onlookers back to the action, and away from us.
Cockfighting is common in South and South East Asia; and is a gambling event in countries such as The Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia (Bali), Southern India and even Japan.