Tag 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?

Violinist in Florence

Portrait: Violinist in Florence, Italy

A few days back in Florence, Italy, I heard beautiful notes wafting in the air. There seemed to be no musician in the vicinity.

Walking along, I came upon a nook in the wall celebrating “the end” with graffiti. An immaculately dressed gentleman sat there playing the violin. At ease with himself and his surroundings, he continued playing as we exchanged smiles. As the music played, I asked for his permission and photographed him at peace surrounded by the chaotic graffiti.

Violinist in Florence