Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mark Hartman | Bole So Nihal...

Photo © Mark Hartman-All Rights Reserved
You must be wondering what does 'Bole So Nihal..." mean? Well, it's part of the traditional greeting used by the followers of the Sikh religion, and a call to action or duty. In Punjabi it essentially means "Whoever utters, shall be fulfilled.")

According to Wikipedia, it's a popular mode of expressing ebullient religious fervor and an integral part of Sikh liturgy. It is said at the end of Sikh prayers and holy congregations.

I was pleased to have been referred by PDN to photographer Mark Hartman's Bole So Nihal wonderful photo essay, consisting of over 30 square color photographs of Nihang Sikhs. He spent most of March and April 2014 in India working on personal projects, which include these terrific photographs.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, by Guru Nanak. Sikhs do not have a gender for God, nor do they believe God takes a human form. All human beings are considered equal regardless of their religion, sex or race.

The Nihang are an armed Sikh order, and their distinctive dress consists of blue robes, bracelets of iron, and steel rings tied in their lofty conical blue turbans, along with the traditional sword carried by all baptized Sikhs.

Mark tells us in the PDN article that he was granted access to the Nihang while traveling in Amirtsar and Anandpursahib in Punjab, and that he decided to photograph them is a posed formal way because he hadn't seen anyone set up on-location portraits of the Nihang Sikhs before.

Mark Hartman is a New York City based photographer. He studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has shown work his work internationally. His work has been featured and published in Esquire, Monocle, Communication Arts, PDN, CNN, British Journal of Photography and others. In 2012, he was named a photographer to watch by Photo District News.