These are some images from my recent trip to India, with a little commentary for anyone interested in the background. As always, critique and criticism is always welcome.
This was shot at a market in Calcutta. Despite the city's reputation for visible poverty, the economic changes in India have led to a dramatic reduction in the number of street people in the city. I have been visiting Calcutta on and off for the last 20 years, and the extent to which the problems of homelessness, vagrancy, and poverty have been reduced in the last four years is nothing short of astonishing. Nonetheless, the poorest of the city do, at times, make themselves apparent, as this child did in a busy marketplace downtown. I initially offered her a coin, and then asked if she and her sister would not mind posing for a picture. She was overjoyed by the idea, and the smile that crossed her face upon seeing the image immediately after it was taken made it all worthwhile.
When travelling in the villages of rural India, you are bound to attract attention to yourself simply by virtue of being a newcomer. Add to that the fact that I was carrying around a big camera, lens, and tripod, and it becomes easy to understand why small groups of children may start gawking at you, or talking behind your back. I caught this group of children flat footed; their curiosity in what I was doing, but they did not realize I spoke the local language and could understand what they were whispering to each other until after I asked them if I could take their picture. This particular girl I found to be quite striking, and I posted a picture of her here. This was shot in rural West Bengal, about 130 miles north of Calcutta.
This is another child in the same area. She was a bit bolder though, and more than happy to have her picture taken.
This kid was constantly trying to get my attention. I was intrigued by the pastoral quality of life in rural India, with livestock, wildlife, and people living in an odd equilibrium. I think he found my interest in the wandering animals to be a little silly, but he was nonetheless trying his best to do things that would get him a spot on one of my CF cards. In the end, I snuck this composition of the little boy sitting on a temple bench...