Another street photography environmental portrait that was taken in the back lanes of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. As you can guess, the kids have no inhibitions about wanting to get into a photograph, so people can almost be queuing up to have their photo taken. Elsewhere you have to persuade folk to pose for their picture.
This is a part of a video pan shot of a street in Agra. The guy in the foreground just stood and stared into the camera. It’s difficult to determine whether his expression is disapproving or passive. Maybe that scowl comes naturally.
Agra proved to be a great location for photography and although India is a truly colourful culture, monochrome images say more about the timeless quality of the country. They also feel to be a more powerful document of time and place. When unencumbered by the specific details of the moment and so without colour, they become iconic and generic at the same time.
This particular image resonates with me for the diverse expressions and postures of this group as they stand outside their school at the end of the afternoon. I have retained that glimpse inside the madrassa from where an adult is looking at us guardedly, because he reinforces the adult-child relationship and also because it helps to balance the composition.
In one sense this pictures is about rhythms; rhythms of placement, division and gesture: but also the rhythms of life.
The streets of India are always animated by the children, and a tourist carrying a camera is a magnet for crowds of kids who gather to ask “where you from”, or “what’s your name” or even, and less appealing, “school pen?”
If you are busy taking photos they will stand there waiting for you to take their picture and will quickly line up ready for their portrait. Agra in Uttar Pradesh is especially appealing for its narrow streets and excited children.
A visit to that icon of Indian architecture is the ideal opportunity to upload your pictures to Facebook or text your granny….
Fatepur Sikri was founded as the capital of the Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar. It served this role from 1571 to 1585, when Akbar abandoned it due to a campaign in Punjab and it was later completely abandoned in 1610. This is a view of the palace courtyard and Diwan-i-Khas.
A late afternoon walk through the streets of Agra and people stop to talk. The boys approached to have their photo taken, and in the background, Alan is engrossed in a conversation. In both interactions the body language is all part of the rich pattern of communication.
This is a reworking of one of my favourite photos taken in Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India.
The town had the character of the wild west and in presenting it as a monochrome with a narrow depth of field helps to reinforce that perception. The treatment also gives it the appearance of a stage or film set.
A man catching up with old news in Agra…..
Agra in Uttar Pradesh is rightly famous for the magnificent Taj Mahal but I found the streets of the city just as fascinating. The contrasts couldn’t be more extreme of course but then the history of cultures is founded on the striving of the masses that enable the achievements of the culture. In every back street you come across the artisans practicing their craft and at every level you see a common appreciation of beauty and refinement. Out of chaos comes order. Even the masses aspire to higher ideals…..
Strange contradictions here. There is beauty even in chaos.