Ann Brooks Photography

Photojournalism, art photography, studio happenings & resources

Posts Tagged ‘India

Old and New India

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In Jodhpur, India in 2006 I was in my favorite market street with my Canon dSLR. Among the many images recorded that day was this one.

I was taken by the fact that this single image seemed to symbolize where India was (and still is, I’d venture) – between two views of itself, between two worlds. Traditional India in a purple turban, looking back through millennia and India in a red motorcycle helmet, rushing into the 21st-Century.

Because the image was made in haste, the focus is on the middle and distance and not on the men, as it should have been. As it is far from technically perfect, I’ve never made it available in my studio. The other day, in the middle of a major cleaning project in my home office/studio, I came across it.

Darn, I still like it and so, decided share it with you here and now.

You can see more images from my Indian trips here on my website, http://www.annbrooks.net or in my studio at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, California.

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September 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

1950s North African market influenced my future travels, photography, jewelry

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The North African souq which was to influence my travels, my photography and my jewelry for years to come. Taken with a Kodak Baby Brownie.

I was a very impressionable teenager in the 1950s, when I first set eyes on a North African souq.

My grandmother and I had been traveling independently in Europe, from Ireland and Scotland, south through England, France and Spain. It was not all that long after World War II and Europe, itself seemed very “different” to this American teenager.

But I was in no way prepared for what I would see across the Straights of Gibraltar in Morocco, in Tangiers. The French were still present there and it was not unusual to see a European woman pushing a stroller on the same sidewalk with an Arab woman, covered from head to toe, with a toddler in hand. And Coca-Cola signs in both French and Arabic — on the same sign! The snake charmer! I found it all quite amazing.

But it was the sight of the the Arabs gathered in a souq, that North African market, that sunk deeply into my psyche. That view would influence where I chose to travel in future decades and even the jewelry I make today, a half century later!

It was my first view of how other people in the world lived that seemed in no way connected to the life I had known growing up in California. It stirred my my curiosity, my passion. I knew I wanted to see, learn more about other people, far away lands.

But then, time out to marry, raise a family and I was pretty tied down for two decades. I did manage to take my own children to Europe in 1973.

The yearning did not go away. Mexico was near and satisfied some of that need. Finally, in 1989 I saw India for the first time, but it was not till 2005 that I was able to return to India and made contacts with a Muslim family in Rajasthan that I would end up doing a photo documentary about their teenage daughter the following year.

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March 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

“Rajasthani Hanki” – 100 layers in Photoshop

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One of my images, “Rajasthani Hanki” was juried into the current exhibition in the Art Works Downtown gallery, “New Avenues: digitally influenced art”. Yes, I know, I don’t usually photoshop my photography, but I sure had fun with this one.

From my notes about the image: “Rajasthani Hanki” was created in Photoshop using over 100 layers of carefully  chosen details from digital images I made in the cities of Jaipur and Jodhpur in India’s state of Rajasthan.

Rajasthan is in northwest India which abuts Pakistan on it’s western border. Historically the state has been composed of a number smaller principalities which were united into what became the largest of India’s states at the time of Independence in 1947.

Prior to statehood, the major principality in Rajasthan was the city of Jaipur (2.3 million population today) , which became the state’s capital. Another, smaller, sister principality was the city of Jodhpur, population close to one million today.

In this piece, the central image is that of a young woman selling posters of sacred Hindu imagery along a major market street in Jodhpur. This is surrounded by lacy balcony details from City Palace in Jaipur. Next are a series of women in the picturesque, walled Old Market in central Jodhpur. The remaining, lacy effects which complete the ‘hanki”, are of a variety of architectural details from various palaces in “Pink City” of Jaipur.

To summarize, photos of the women are all from Jodhpur. All architectural details are form royal palaces in Jaipur.

Cultural note: Marin County and internationally acclaimed Indian musician, the late Ali Akbar Kahn was court musician to the palace in Jodhpur for several years prior to Indian Independence.

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October 6, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Jodhpur photo honors and signs of rapid change in India.

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Over the Fourth of July weekend Marin County, California holds it’s annual County Fair, reputed to be one of the best in the country for it’s Fine Arts exhibitions. So, this year you can imagine how pleased I was when one of my images was chosen “Best in Class” for Monochromatic Photography.

Recently, over several years, I had spent about two weeks each in Jodhpur, in the state of Rajasthan in India. I was doing a still photography documentary about a Muslim girl who wanted to become a doctor and had great support from her family.

The other thing I always looked forward to in Jodhpur, was photographing in the vibrant streets, and markets in this small, ancient Indian city. I had found that about 5 p.m. each afternoon the light came streaming through the city’s major market street and was often magnificent.

It was in this street, at that hour that I took the three black and white photos in this post. The one to the right has been an award winner several times, including this year’s county fair.

Below are two others in that series. The year after I took the one with the man and the cows, I marveled that the same small street was a totally different scene – lots of motorcycles and motor scooters and no cows in site – signs of very recent prosperity!

On the right below, is a woman carrying her groceries in that 5-gallon can on her head, something else that was nowhere to be seen as prosperity took over in subsequent years.

Yes, prosperity is bringing large, rapid changes to many parts of India. It is growing harder to find “the old India”.

Technical notes: Photos were taken with my first digital SLR, a Canon Rebel XT, and the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS lens that I still use on my Canon 40D today. The images were then converted from color to black & white in Photoshop.

[Addendum: The Indian photos were taken in October 2005]

Ganges Bathers in Veranasi, India

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I could stand it no longer! I took this image of bathers at the Ganges in Veranasi, India in 2005. I love it. However, I’ve never printed it before because technically it is a far less than perfect photo. Taken at 6:00 a.m. on a very overcast morning at ISO 1600 from a bobbing boat, it is not sharp and is full of digital noise.

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Ritual bathing at the sacred Ganges River in Veranasi, India in 2005.

This week, three and a half years after taking it, I have given it new life. It is now available in my studio as notecards, prints and a canvas.

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April 9, 2009 at 1:51 am