This article was written for Terrascape, a travel magazine where I write a monthly column on photography.
One of my long standing wish was to photograph the mendicants in Varanasi. I have been to Varanasi many times in the past, but in all these years, I was apprehensive to approach the sadhus with a camera. I had heard about short-tempered nature of many and was unsure about reaching out to them. I did not wish to photograph people from a distance either. As much as possible, I prefer to make conversations, know about the people I am photographing and keep them comfortable during the shoot. During the last visit, I decided to put my uneasiness aside and make an effort to approach them.
Instead of trying to connect with any mendicant I bump into on the river-front, I planned to meet them at their own residences. Obviously, the first step to doing this was asking permissions. I wasn’t very hopeful with being let in, but decided to try out anyway. To my surprise, the Guruji of one of the largest and well-known river-facing residence of the mendicants gladly consented to our request. Even better, the resident mendicants were happy to oblige to the camera. click to read more »