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Category Archives: India

India through the lens of Raghubir Singh

“Modernism on the Ganges” is the photography exhibit of Raghubir Singh, a pioneer of street color photography. Born in a privileged Rajasthan family he lived in Europe and New York being exposed to the work of the famous Western photographers.

In the brochure of the exhibit it is stated that he was “…deeply influenced by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (whom he met in Jaipur in 1966), Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, and American street photographers such as William Gedney and Lee Friedlander.” Many of these photographers visited India and created there substantial bodies of work.

No matter that Singh lived extensively abroad he returned many times in his native country where he created an astounding body of work that describes the spectacular photographic paradise that is India, as interesting today as in his time.

The exhibit shows about 85 of his photographs in counterpoint with photos by Cartier-Bresson, Friedlander, etc taken also in India. Beside the exhibited body of work the photo albums he published during his life time are available for viewing depicting the same fascinating world.

The exhibit is hosted by the Met Brewer, the new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in the old Whitney building on Madison Avenue and will run till January 2, 2018.

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Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Blog, India, USA

 

Sounds and images of India and Tibet

Rubin Museum of Art staircase, New York

The opening of the exhibit “The World is Sound” at the Rubin was highly attended on Friday night, the entire museum being wired as a sound box. Navigating its spiral staircase you could travel through these amazing sounds, immersed in various themes as you go by. On its top floor, mantras and devotional chants were played as you touch walls that conceal inside ancient representation of Tibetan deities.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, india – 1966

One floor lower you could hear the sounds but you are touched visually by the exhibit “India in Full Frame” by Henry Cartier-Bresson, one of the co-founders of Magnum. His amazing body of work was shot during five travels he had to do in India, in assignments for Life and Harper Bazaar magazines.

Khumb Mela in Allahabad, 1966

He started right after India got its independence, in 1948, being a witness to the dual sense refugee flow following the Partition, to Gandhi’s death with whom he had a meeting with just one hour before his assassination, as well as the passing of Ramana Maharishi.

Women in front of a mosque in Srinagar, India – 1948

Latter on he returned and there are incredible images from Khumb Mela in Allahabad and many from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, shot latter in the middle 60s.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Blog, India, USA

 

Steve McCurry @ Rubin

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Monsoon in Varanasi, India

Steve McCurry is for sure one of the most well known photographers. Through his travels in almost all parts of the world he shot incredibly arresting photographs most of which became iconic like the famous afghan girl.

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Monsoon in Varanasi, India

Rubin Museum hosts an exhibit of hid photographs shot in India in many of his travels in South and South East Asia. One of this trip was dedicated to shoot during the monsoon and many other during the famous Indian festival, Holi and Kumbh Mela.

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Holi Festival in Karnataka, India

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Buddhist debate at a Tibetan monastery, India

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Blog, India, News, USA

 

Colonial India at the Met

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Madurai temple jewels, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

At the Met, it just closed an amazing exhibit dedicated to the work of Captain Linnaeus Tripe, photographer for the British colonial power in South Asia. Between 1852–1860 he produced an unprecedented series of photographs documenting the landscape and cultural artifacts of south India and Burma.
I found surprising the images he took inside the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, a major holy site in Tamil Nadu. Today guards at the entrances located under the impressive Gopurans are screening the visitors for any kind of recording devices and not even a telephone is allowed in the temple.

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The South Gopuran in Madurai Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

The non-Hindus are banned to enter the sacred area of the temple, the altar of goddess Meenakshi, limiting them to walk the large halls where anyhow many ceremonies happen. As it was written in the explanation it took of political wrangling to let Tripe photograph inside the sacred area and probably could have been done only in those times.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Blog, India, USA

 

A chat about India in Bucharest…

…with Swami Ajatananda Puri and several of his disciples with whom he has regular satsang sessions teaching the non-dual philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, Swami-ji acquired this knowledge after long years of studies in India where he was a disciple of Swami Shantanada Puri whom I had the honor to interview for a documentary three year ago at Vashishta Guha near Rishikesh.

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Swami Ajatananada Puri with one of his disciples, Ajata.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Blog, India, Romania

 

Southern India’s People

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Sadhus in Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

I doubt that you can find a place in the world where people love so much to be photographed. India is for sure such a place and its people and their eagerness to stand in front of the camera make it a perfect destination for photographers. You may walk on the street and you are hailed by passerby to stop and take their picture or even if somebody carries a huge load on his back or head he would always stop if he senses that you want to take his picture. On the same token the Indians on pilgrimages that have a phone would want to take your picture or even better to have a picture with you so you will end up in a collection of photos in households around the country. I wrote extensively about this in a post about traveling in Southern India. I usually do not take portraits but I still got here a collection of them just by being asked to take them.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Blog, India

 

Southern India: Chennai

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St Thomas Church, Chennai

We published an albums with frames from the shoot in Chennai, known also by its old name of Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The city is the fourth largest in India and is sprawled around the extended Gulf of Bengal’s Marina Beach. Besides several interesting buildings and government offices, the city is the place where Jesus Christ’ apostle Thomas, the Doubting Thomas, was entombed. Saint Tomas Church was built on top of his tomb. Together with St Peter in Rome and Santiago de Compostella in Spain, these are the only three churches built on apostles’ tombs. For more information read our blog’s post about Chennai

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Blog, India