A bunch of my images in 2016… A year when I did not travel much, and did not shoot much but immensely enjoyed whatever little photography I did.
A genial monk from Dhankar Monastery in Zanskar region. He was a delight to be with as he showed us around the prayer hall of the ancient monastery. The hall was barely lit, with a skylight in the center providing a diffusion of light. The drooping decoratives all around created interesting variation of light, which was not easy to identify for an untrained eye. At one point where he stood and talked, there was such a joyous gradient of light on his face that my heart skipped a beat! There was a bit of anxiety: what if he moved before I pressed the shutter? The moment would have never come back. Fortunately, it was frozen before it was too late!
Theyyams are tough to describe in words. There are many words to pick from: celebratory, eerie, scary, adventurous, pious,.. They are all right in their own way. There are a variety of Theyyam too, and each one comes with its own charm. The Kandanar Kelan Theyyam has the artist jumping over fire several times. And each time the artist makes him move, the blaze is made stronger by the assistants who facilitate the whole thing. It’s a treat o watch: there is fear, there is awe and there is a deeply ingrained sense of devotion.
This shoot took its share of planning. We would just have a handful of occasions to get it right; the setting and the crowd wouldn’t permit a lot of moment. This meant making all preparations: finding the right place well before the performances began, putting on the right lens and pre-imagining the shots that can be made. Thanks to some excellent, meticulous guidance from a local photographer who had been shooting Theyyams for a long while, it was all much easier. click to read more »