Brick Kiln’s Workers
Varanasi, the name rings a plethora of nostalgia and memories of my youth, which I spent as a student of Banaras Hindu University. There couldn’t have been a better place for me than Varanasi during my Formative years as a student of photography.
Varanasi gave me the insight, perspective, and a future to follow my passion of Photography by intuitive twist of fate. The twist of fate remains an inexplicable mystery to myself till this day, as I chose to study photography in Banaras despite the stiff opposition from my family. I do not know, what drove me towards this city despite never having visited the city ever, but the desire was so strong that I chose to be rather disowned by the family for defying their choice and deciding to pursue my studies in Banaras.
Kasi, Banaras or Varanasi is the name of the same city, which has got changed over the annals of antiquity from ancient Vedic texts to Mughal to the Colonial rule. Strangely, it never lost its true fervor with the changing times, and has retained its antique charm alongside the compulsions of Modernity by some mysterious reasons. The tools may have changed but the means remain the same. It is a mystery city, which remains juxtaposed in it more than 4000 years of ancient existence and current modernity. It has shown the will to accommodate the constants of change and yet retained its ancient culture to reemerge into a famous Hindu Pilgrimage Centre. It has inspired many & shall continue to do so to many time travelers like me.
My inspiration to photograph the Brick kiln workers has somewhat been inspired by the fact that when I learnt that the remnants of present Varanasi were unearthed in the area known as Rajghat, pottery and artifacts dating back to 800 BC, suggesting evidence of ancient settlements in the area. The city offers something to everyone, otherwise why would filmmakers like Richard Gardener choose to film their movies in Banaras.
To me the city has given a “perspective”, and to use photography as a means to document the world around, identify with the yet to be explored character of the city. I have tried to capture the frailty of my imagination over the stark reality of the brick kiln worker’s world. I try to interpret the faces of my subjects with the façade that they put to brave the odds against them. They are usually the ignored, overlooked, underprivileged creations of the same creator, who has perhaps just chosen them to reinvigorate our belief in the power of human resilience, patience, and faith by the sheer difficulties thrown by life at them and their power to overcome these difficulties with élan & dignity.
I choose to make a statement to sensitize my audiences about the great privileges that they have in comparison to a larger section of the society and silent appeal at a sub conscious level to arouse their feelings called “ Sharing” . I feel privileged if my photographs manage to stir positive emotions towards these marginalized sections of society. I try to say, their hidden stories, struggles and efforts to live with only available elixir of life called “ faith”.
I chose brick kiln as a subject due to my earthy connection with soil and cultural background, which equates the land as mother and soil as the nurturer of life. Brick kilns being the general view of Indian rural landscape, had always been a part of my curious nature. I wanted to understand what tall chimneys, primitive process of digging and carrying soil by little children on their heads meant? I wanted to know what was the final journey of this soil which robbed small children of their childhood, delicate women of their femininity, animals of their sturdiness, before building a HOME for somebody. It was a heartbreaking revelation to know that most of the brick kiln workers died at an early age due to lung related illnesses as an occupational hazard. I found that it was a journey undertaken by the soil to become a brick, to build a home, consecrated by the people who were ironically HOMELESS, themselves. It was a journey of human helplessness, which brought migrant villagers in search of better future and getting enslaved by the very destiny they wanted to change.
Shot taken at Simhaasta Kumbha Mela, 2016, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India
Stunning red wall with blue yoga mudra (Gnana Mudra) express space of life and knowledge and lady symbolized as nature and green to yellow gradation depicts merging of energy of nature (Shakti and Prakruti) with designs of plant. In still image one can imagine woman covering cloth or removing cloth purpose shot taken is to create deluge to viewer think in both ways are we coverd with Nature or we created by Nature can we overcome or control the nature or we are able avoid ignore the nature. Gnana mudra and woman well connected to nature and knowledge.
I had been practicing such a low shutter and freezed action combo shot form a long time, and finally achieved it a few days back. Here the shot depicts an early morning scene at the streets of Old Delhi. A man indulges in his daily chores(i.e; takes a bath) as a scooter passes by on the street. I managed to frame the person right between the gap in the vehicle and still got the subject sharp and the vehicle blurred.
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More recently, we have made an improvement and now we have a new feature - "Series uploading." Even now, you can download from 3 to 10 photos in the series, united by a common idea. Voting for the series will take place separately from other series in their nominations. vote principle remains the same as for single photos. At the moment, series uploading is available for nominations: "Children's Photography", "Wild Animals", "Staged Photography" and "Reportage photo". This feature is available for any improved account.