Here I am, on my first assignment of 2014 after a solid chunk of time in London delivering on assignments from Southern Africa and Russia and enjoying the Christmas and New Year festivities with loved ones. Once again, I’m back in Chamrajnagar in the South Indian state of Karnataka, working on assignment with overseas disability charity CBM and one of their implementing partners, Mobility India. Perhaps you’ll remember the postcard I sent you back in June last year of three colourfully dressed little girls standing in an equally colourful doorway?
Bathed in the evening sun, children demonstrate a traditional dance in Chamrajnagar, Southern India.
Today’s postcard is made from an image I shot just after wrapping up my work one day earlier this week. I had been capturing how a particular After-School Club Coordinator used methods taught by The Teacher Foundation (TTF) to involve a child with speech and hearing difficulties more effectively in activities. As I was packing up my equipment, a few of the children asked if I’d like to be treated to a small show of traditional dance. Of course I did!!
It’s time to wrap up my work with Mobility India‘s inspiring and dedicated team in Karnataka, at least for now (assuming all goes according to plan, I’ll be back here several more times over the next few years). Though I’m actually posting this card to you from Bangalore, where I’ve come to photograph the staff in training with The Teacher Foundation (TTF), the photograph was taken in the field in Chamrajnagar.
Girls in a doorway, Chamrajnagar: a postcard from South India.
As I was composing a shot of a community survey being taken using an innovative mobile application developed by Aptivate, these three curious little girls came to see what was going on. They added some real colour and context to my backdrop. So I quickly assured the staff who were assisting me that there was no need to ask them to move. Once my work was done, I asked the three young ladies if it would be alright for me to shoot this close-up of them, and they were delighted to oblige!
In collaboration with writer Meera Vijayann once again, I’m proud to bring you the second in my mini series of photo essays on the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. While the last one focused on the Vietnamese people’s love for their country, this one concentrates on two beautifully preserved Hanoi temples. Click the image below and I’ll take you there.
Catapult through a thousand years of history in Hanoi. Religion is everywhere; yet a sense of calm washes over when you step into Văn Miếu, the old Temple of Literature. Breathe deep. King Ly Thanh Tong’s serious gaze holds your wandering eye.
Deeper inside the temple, a young student offers her prayers in silence. Devotees sit in quiet corners around the courtyard, taking in the scented air and beauty. Several important temples were destroyed during war-torn times, but locals remain rooted, protecting dying traditions.
A painter skilfully practises his art as observers look on with curiosity. Calligraphy artists sketch the language of Vietnam’s Northern neighbour, reminding visitors of shared history while hoping to impress tourists and make a sale.
Dressed in ceremonial red robes and a traditional headdress, a priest talks to assembled students. Proud parents and teachers look on, listening intently. Their young have worked hard, and today’s the day to mark their efforts.
No temple is complete without a metal pot brimming with incense sticks. Visitors often light two or three as they pass, to honour their families. Tradition and age-old ties run deep in Hanoi, so simply surrender – and let the city refresh your spirits and soothe your soul.
This month, I teamed up once again with my favourite writer Meera Vijayann to bring you a slice of my recent travels in Vietnam. We’ve called this photo essay ‘From Hanoi with Love’ as a means of sharing some of the love I experienced while I was there. I’m not speaking of love for me, though my Vietnamese hosts were certainly wonderfully hospitable! I’m talking more of the passion they clearly have for their country, shared history and culture. Click below to see what I mean.