Analog portraits in late-day sunlight. Shot in Downtown St. Petersburg, FL on Fujifilm Super 200. Scanned on a Kodak Pakon F135+Read More
From a little mini-shoot with Jake & Katie Ford, a wedding photographer duo who I finally had the chance to spend some time with. Our excuse was testing out my (new to me) Pentax 67, which I shot with Kodak Tri-X film. So lovely to goof off and talk photo-philosophy!
After many days of activity, this day of unwinding was thoroughly welcome.
Cold showers & 30's jazz & a blessedly present breeze soothed my mind into quiet reflection.
I found myself in Hyderabad once more, in an apartment high enough up in the hills to catch a little of the breeze that proved so elusive in the lowlands.
The neighborhood was one of the wealthiest in Hyderabad...which is to say that four story palaces found themselves competing with tiny, tarp-roofed shacks & apartment buildings for supremacy.
Midday came with North Indian style Thali shared with my incredible host Sean at a nice place in the neighborhood...and even finished off the meal with a milkshake! ....Or....well...a scoop of ice cream in some milk. Basically the same thing I suppose.
With rather more food than I was accustomed to in my belly, we headed out for an afternoon of right proper tourism at the seven tombs of the Mughal Dynasty that once ruled Hyderabad....
Along the way I befriended a really sweet family that timidly came up and asked for a photo...after a quick snap and a bit of conversation, we went our separate ways. It's a shame though, they seem to have forgotten to write me about it...
Shortly after two rambunctious middle-schoolers proceeded to do the same thing, but with much less veiled enthusiasm!
I went back up into Sean's neighborhood for the latter half of the afternoon,
ending up wandering until dusk; making portraits and taking pleasure in the simple act of moving.
Woke with a pounding head that beat in time with the pulse of the city beyond. Quiet until afternoon, then we were off to the huge primary school the kids from the Ongole children's home attend, led by Sean, an affable natured, pale blue-eyed guy from California who runs CCH, a much larger children's home organization that Orphans First partners with. Naturally, our arrival caused sheer chaos at the school.... I think I shook hands with and heard the names of well over 100 kids, all eager to try out what they'd learned in their English lessons.
I made my way through the open air classrooms, trying as hard as I could to remain discreet, and predictably failed utterly. The teachers kept admirable control over the kids with nary a raised voice, but classes still tended to grind to a halt whenever I walked by. After quite a bit of improvised communication primarily composed of halting words and hand gestures, I managed to get a few of the classes to ignore me as best they could....though one teacher just decided to let the kids have a photo-op instead.
Shortly after all the Ongole children's home kids had been met, we drove back to home where the children lived to await their return once classes ended. The Ongole home was in a quiet little village perhaps an hour outside of the city proper, tended by a young couple with children of their own.
Dusk turned into full dark as we made our goodbyes, sipping on gifted coconuts and sprite.
Enough adventure had been had for one hazy-headed day, so we made our way back to the noise and crowds of Ongole to flop into beds for the last time before the return to Hyderabad...
- To be continued -
Rose with the dawn for a drive through the countryside to the tiny town of Markapur, where we would spend the day with the kids of the second Orphans First home in India.
We arrived to see another group of incredibly excited young boys and girls who took to having their photos taken quicker than I could have believed.
As the afternoon began to cool, we said our goodbyes and turned back to the road, driving another few hours to the dusty mining town of Ongole. The road from Markapur to Ongole dwindled down to a single lane as it rolled through the most deserted stretch of countryside I had yet to see in India. Kilometer after kilometer passed by; a blur of lonely mountains, and stunted trees.
Slowly, signs of humanity blended back into the landscape; straight rows of tobacco with nary a soul tending to them. It was in one such field that I saw, almost out of nowhere, a herd of goats being shepherded along by a small group of men in white. Of course, I had to stop and meet these men to worked in isolation in a land where even such a word must seem foreign.
This group of shepherds still kept to the old ways, guiding their flocks as their fathers once did. We communicated in a language of smiles and gestures...and if there's one thing I regret, it's that I couldn't give them a print!
The kilometers wore on by, and the land changed drastically with the dusk. We passed a land of granite & marble quarries; hellish places where lonely headlamps shone into the grey in a never ending storm of dust and smog. The road soon wound through rough and tumble towns that sprung up around the fringes of the quarries....a mire of seedy looking buildings catering to men made hard by necessity.
By full dark we had reached the town of Ongole, spending our last night with our splendid hosts conversing our way through a lovely meal. It was days like these that I'll remember the most from India...
A Tribute to the City that never seems to sleepRead More