Category Archives: Street Photography

Day of the dead (Dia de los muertos), Mission District, San Francisco, USA.

Day of the Dead, San Francisco

Earlier this month, I visited the mission district in San Francisco to photograph the Day of the Dead celebrations.  It was after a gap of nine years that I went to photograph this tradition also called ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ and was very surprised to see the overflowing crowd at the Garfield park this year.  This event seems to have become very popular by leaps and bounds.

I have uploaded some more photos in my photo archive that might interest you:  Dia De Los Muertos, Mission District, San Francisco

The following are my first impressions after attending the Dia De Los Muertos in San Francisco nine years back…

The sky weeps as a light rain falls. Human spirits, faces painted in white, eyes adorned with black circles, walk somberly. The light from the candles that the hands hold, is casting an eerie light on the face. Dead people are walking; dead in illusion but their spirits are alive. Death being a mere illusion for the living spirits. Altars have sprung up everywhere. Altars for the departed souls replete with food for the them, their favorite wines and food. Photos of the ones watching from above, adorn the altars as the living seek harmony with the dead.

A few hundred candles burn, lighting up the dark. A painted skeleton peeps into the mirror only to find itself staring back. A stark reminder of the image we might be, when the spirit leaves for the world beyond. I am drawn to the candles, slowly giving their life away to illuminate the world around. A little girl stands. holding a red candle, fascinated by the candle and the glow emanating from it.

I feel hesitant, unsure whether capturing these moments would mean intruding into the private rememberances. As I look through the lens, I feel one with the spirits, dead and alive. It’s another day, a celebration of being alive…

If it interests you, you may see some of those old photos from Day of the Dead 

I hope I get to see the dancing calaveras next year again.

Different Childhoods

Different Childhoods

“Be careful! Where are you going?”
Well-dressed, sheltered kids curbed their naughtiness as they heeded the warnings let out by the elders. The polythene, trash strewn water could be deep. They wanted to have fun but not at the cost of their clothes or the anxious commands of their elders. As they climbed up and down the steps cheerfully and carefully under the watchful eyes of their parents, two other kids jumped down from the platform in the middle of the pond.

The new entrants playfully jumped through the shallow, dirty water towards the side of the pond. The sheltered kids watched spellbound with wonder and amazement at these kids gamboling through these dirty waters. Do not know what was going through their minds as they looked at the kids who freely frolicked in the waters. Different childhoods – sheltered versus unshackled!

As parents or elders, do we sometimes shelter our kids too much? Should we let them enjoy the simple things in life? Do we curb their natural, curious instinct, exploratory spirit in the process of sheltering them? I remember we used to sometimes float paper boats in the roadside puddles. Do not see that happening very often now a days. Are the kids today more mature, more worldly-wise albeit minus the playful, exploratory spirit?

Venice, a dream…

“Venezia Santa Lucia”, the train station.  My train from Rome comes to a halt and I eagerly get off not wanting to waste any of my precious time here.  The weather gods had not been kind the past few days and I was prepared for a rainy dream.  It had always been my dream to visit Venice; specially during Venice Carnival when people masquerade in elaborate costumes and Venetian masks.

It was raining when I got to my hotel, five minutes from Piazza San Marco, behind Teatro La Fenici.  Having parked my belongings, I came to the piazza just as it drizzled slow and steady.  As I walked, shielding my camera, the sky started to open up and smile.  I would actually get to see the sunset this evening.  The light was  breathtaking and for a change, I forgot to click, telling myself that I will have a couple more days.  Little did I know that this would be the best light I will see on this trip.

The next day, I walked around photographing architecture, people and the colorful window displays in the galleries and shops. Narrow streets connected by bridges over a network of canals, it was easy to lose oneself, literally. The museums and palazzos in Venice close early. In between visiting the beautiful churches, palazzos, I could not indulge myself with a Gondola ride. But indulge I did, in other ways, with scoops of delicious gelato and omnipresent pizza. I was in heaven!

I had bought a pass for the water taxi.  This way, I could get around without too much hassle.  This turned out to be a good decision.   The sun and the rain gods were being mischievous, playing hide-and-seek, determined to make this trip more memorable.

When it rains, it pours and by god, it poured hard. People huddled under umbrellas as they tried to enjoy a soggy gondola ride. Even, some of the gondoliers brought out umbrellas as they went about earning their livelihood.

I was happy as adversity brings different, maybe better, opportunities. And, the rains brought me some different pictures…something different…

After a good downpour, the sun decided to trade places, making the dream, even more beautiful.

I did not shoot too many night photos in Venice. By the time, I got back to hotel, I felt too tired to lug my tripod around especially in the rains. No pain, no gain. Maybe, Venice will call me again. I will wait. It is just the beginning….my Venetian dream.