View from A Hidden Stairwell: Varanasi, India
These images were made in front of the wall of a 16th century mosque. This series captures the reverie of daily life, from school children to sadhus, to people going to the sacred Ganges River, which is just steps away, for their daily ablutions and Hindu rituals.
I stood about 15 feet inside the stairwell of a 15th century structure that was my home for two weeks earlier this year while working on a personal project. I was staying with a small family in an intimate and simple environment. The photographs were all done from the same position, with slight variations of light, exposure and framing, to capture the flow of daily life in this ancient Indian city that is most holy for Hindus, where Buddha gave his first sermons and where Hindus come to die and be cremated on funeral pyres next to the river.
The photographs show workers, tourists, families, kids going to school, dogs, bulls, cows, women dressed in beautiful saris, garbagemen, young boys, holy men, religious pilgrims and more. In some ways this simple series of pictures, of people caught unaware, coming and going, represents the gamut of life. In some cases, people are just forging ahead, trying to get somewhere, but occasionally the camera was noticed and elicited waves, smiles, curiosity, confusion, but never ill will or discord.
This was a genuine visual reaction to what I was observing. Isn’t that, after all, what we do as photographers? To observe the different cadences and tempos of how people move through their world. It is beautiful to observe this simplicity, with people mumbling to themselves, little kids cheerful and carefree, some carrying the the troubles of the world on their shoulders, some flash a beautiful smile when they noticed the camera but most ignored me or didn’t even know I was there.
#india #varanasi #edkashi #personalproject #documentaryphotography #viiphoto @viiphoto #dailylife #hiddenview