Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rishikesh and the Kumbh Mela

These portraits were taken in and around Rishikesh and Haridwar, North India at the time of the Kumbh Mela festival. Shot over a period of five days the series features a few of the many charismatic and eccentric characters we ran into along the way. It was a honor for me to be able to photograph yoga and yogis, a subject that is close to me...here, where alot of it began.

Together with my assistant, Vijay and friend Ali we carted our equipment up the foothills of the Himalayas, along the banks of the Ganges and into the darkened woods to capture what I believe is some of my best portraiture work to date.

While we sat by the holiest river in India, Vijay summed up the feeling perfectly in his broken english:

"When the Baba is no more...India is no more."

Enjoy and pass along.

In order of Appearance:

1. Naga Baba, one of the naked Saddhus that wander the banks of the Ganges during Kumbh Mela
2. This man lives along the Ganges and takes care of puppies. He is Dog Baba.
3. Dog Baba
4. A little one hides in one of the fields that run along side the Home for Destitute Children, Rishikesh
5. Swami Yogananda. Age: 101, energetic, spritely and opinionated.
6. Swami Yogananda. The bad ass behind him is Siva; the Destroyer.
7. A woman carries firewood for Pooja. It took 2 men to lift that load on her head.
8. Hobbit Baba. Deep in the the woods of the Himalayan foothills...
9. We met this Saddhu on our way to Parnath Niketan Ashram; he invited us in for chai.
10. Yogi Vishva-ji, loves to laugh and presides over the Anand Prakash Ashram in Rishikesh.
11. A village girl with beautiful eyes and spirit.
12. Baba-ji strikes a pose on the ghats near Laxman Jula
13. Yogi Raj; Pranayam master and Ayurvedic doctor
14. A beggar looks over mother Ganga
15. Basanti works as a gardener at the Home for Destitute Children in Tapovan, Rishikesh.
16. Rajendra is a cripple from birth; he is shifting from begging to learning english and taking computer classes.






38 comments:

Shivakumar said...

Hey Martin,

Fantastic set of images from Rishikesh and Kumbh. Just loved each and every frame of them in this post. The lighting and the mood in the images are just too good for words. Keep them coming.

Cheers,
Shivakumar

Will said...

Really stunning Martin, thanks so much for sharing these. You are such an inspiration!

Cheers,

Will

JCSavarise said...

Martin,

Breathtaking, beautiful, haunting.

The glow that you've created is absolutely otherworldly.

Much love,
Jane

sarah edmondson said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Martin. Thank you for sharing! Much love, Sarah

Chad Zellner said...

Love it! Fantastic work as usual :)

John Reid said...

In my opinion, your best work up to date. I love how you bring a fashion/polished edge to travel photography.

I'll go a bit further and say that this is the best series of travel portraits I've seen - from any artist.

Satanic Ectoderm said...

Inspiration. Desire.
**Awe-struck**
Thanks for sharing.

Satyarth.

Meera said...

Amazing pictures...all of them! i especially enjoy the first pic and the basanti picture! love your work! :) and amazing lighting!

Heather said...

These photographs are so much more than what they appear to be... you have captured people, places, things, lightness, darkness and life itself in action. They appear to be alive!
What a gift you are giving us all to view such depth and richness in another!! Through your lens, through your eyes, through your heart, we see the other... and somehow meet the other in a time and space that you contained for us, the viewer.
Someone said to me once that 'god is in the details'... well Martin, I see god in your photographs. In seeing life peer back at me through these images, what else could it be?
Thank you!

Erin Wilson said...

These really are wonderful portraits. The quality of light is amazing, and you've captured some lovely and peaceful emotion.

Ben said...

your work is inspiring to me. thanks for sharing.

m said...

Martin, you worth the trip to Rishikesh, really outstanding work, specially the girl standing while holding wood on her head. just one word for all images " WOW"


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Zac Whyte said...

Hi Martin. Beautiful work. I really enjoyed the Shiva shot and the girl in the grass. You've really captured some special moments in time with the collection. Thanks for sharing and best to you and yours. Zac Whyte

Jennifer Ballard said...

Amazing images! I absolutely love seeing your work!

Carrie said...

Amazing!!!

p2 said...

Martin,

Thanks for sharing these awesome pictures of Rishikesh and Kumbha Mela with us. I like the most Naga Baba,Lady with firewood(pebble are creating Magic in background) and gorgeous village girl shot.

Pradeep

beatrix said...

incredible, wow, beautiful...

love to you, bea

sanjay said...

Hey Martin,
amazing! every frame starts reeling off a lil story in my head... the power of a picture to move one is amazing. thanks for letting me experience it, 'cause it doesn't happen very often!
cheers
sanjay

sidsiva said...

lovely work..

Kurnal Rawat said...

martin!! really beautiful and charismatic pictures - great stuff

simonh said...

Wow! These are extraordinary. The quality of light is amazing. It looks like you used a big light source to get that glow. What about a post on what you did it? I started reading your blog because of the great 'behind the scenes' and how to videos ...

Sam said...

Beautilful !

Arun & Sanne said...

stunning! very ethereal!

Peter O'Loughlin said...

Martin,

As usual you leave me breathless ... the images are poignant, open and reflective. These are probably some of your best work ... very touching.

Thanks and God Bless

Peter

Max Simon said...

I appreciate you Martin. Thanks for continuing to inspire us, and the world, with your vision.

Much love,

Max
http://www.getselfcentered.com

Natasha said...

Hey Martin...

Really great pictures. Wonderful compositions. Looking forward to seeing more.

Best regards,
Natasha

Lauren Forney said...

Your work is stunning, Martin! You do such a beautiful job of capturing your subjects. I love your work!

Craig Peihopa said...

Thanks for sharing these images, they are gorgeous. I would love to see a post as to how you lit some of the shots you took.

Susan Jones said...

You have absorbed the experience of the country, people, spirit, place and reflect it truly, honestly, sincerely. Stunning and thank you for sharing.
xo
Susan

Anonymous said...

Great pictures - really love them. Amazing compositions, lighting, characters and expressions...

Gurmukh Khalsa said...

These really capture the feel of this incredible event here on planet earth. In the middle of all the self destructive behavior by most of humanity there are the people of LOVE who show us we can transcend BEYOND that lower nature to that of BLISS and LOVE.
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

Sonya Lea said...

We just returned from the holy baths in January, at the opening of the Kumbh Mela. You have made images that capture what the body felt in such moments in the presence of the sadhus and holiness. Thank you. Will you create prints for purchase?

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

I love these picture they are strong and beautiful. It makes me miss India so much.

I really can't wait for your future blogs.

Sital

Sumit said...

Excellent pics.. Not the usual captures from the Kumbh.. :-)

Raghukul said...

Hi Martin,

All the photographs are really gladfull and wonderfull clearity...

Wishbone said...

Stunning Pictures. Need a help, can you tell me the contact details of Yogi raj( website/popular name).

Csaba said...

Amazing shots. Love the colors. If you have videos about how you did them, would love to see them.

Discovery Journeys India said...

Amazing gallery.Liked ur blog

Thanks,

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