Stereotypical rivers

India 18-03-11

If in any doubt at all (photographically speaking) head straight for water. Immediately as a photographer you have more dimensions to play with – extra textures, reflections, geometry and somehow, a completely new, never before seen tonal range. And certainly as far as black and white goes it does not matter what the light is doing, misty, flat or harsh, chances are you will come away with something special.

Having grown up admiring and coveting the work of Cartier-Bresson – and in particular his Indian photographs – I was quietly looking forward to having the opportunity to work by one of the rivers of India. Cartier-Bresson’s images of river life are iconic, to say the least and what they depict has been reinforced over the years by countless other photographers, television documentaries about the Ganges and Hollywood films. If ever there was an Indian stereotype for me to come away with, I knew it would be here, on the banks of the Yamuna.

Relaxing, contemplating and meditating in the River Yanumna during Holi festival, India by Toby Deveson. March 2011So when we first arrived in both Mathura and Vrindavan and we found we had time to kill before various parades or celebrations started, we partook in some random wandering. Random wandering that somehow, inevitably ended up taking us straight to the river.

Groups of people, families, friends and individuals, were gathered by the water’s edge, contemplating life, praying, washing, bathing and even drinking the river water. Most were pilgrims, drawn to Mathura and Vrindavan by Holi and to the river itself by the temples that lined it. Families were sat having picnics, groups were listening to preachers, children were splashing and swimming, pilgrims were posing, having their photos taken by friends and family and people were wading straight into the filthy water (fully dressed or naked), without a second thought. In amongst all this relaxed activity were the boats, pulled up onto the shore with their eager owners touting for business and haggling with pilgrims and the (extremely) occasional western tourist. They offered tours to other temples in the area or the chance to cross to the other side, perhaps to a quieter, more peaceful place to meditate. The water itself was lined with hundreds of orange flowers and plenty of litter – ineffectual obstacles for those wishing to partake in the holy and spiritual properties of the Yamuna.

Other than those times I am photographing landscapes and working in complete isolation, I have never known such a relaxed and calm atmosphere. It was magical and yes, it felt both spiritual and holy. Stereotype or not, I was inspired.

Related Images

Relaxing, contemplating and meditating in the River Yanumna during Holi festival, India by Toby Deveson. March 2011

Relaxing, contemplating and meditating in the River Yanumna during Holi festival, India by Toby Deveson. March 2011

Relaxing, contemplating and meditating in the River Yanumna during Holi festival, India by Toby Deveson. March 2011

Relaxing, contemplating and meditating in the River Yanumna during Holi festival, India by Toby Deveson. March 2011

Latest

F01-33D_blog_cover

Under the Stars in Madagascar

There are times when writing about memories from as far back as my eighteenth year feels wrong. How

Blog_Viewpoints_Cover

Viewpoints

The Rooftop Collective exhibition edition VI Tempus Fugit. So they say. Here we are again, another Rooftop Collective

Blog_West_of_the_Sun_Trailer

West of the Sun trailer

A huge thank you to Jim Shannon for putting together this wonderful trailer for ‘West of the Sun’.

Blog_Joe_Plage_de_Saleccia_Sunset_Corsica_August_2016

No Strings Attached

Photography has become my art. Photography has become important. Laden. Very serious. Photography has become entangled in a

Memories

Blog_F26-19C

Stereotypical rivers

India 18-03-11 If in any doubt at all (photographically speaking) head straight for water. Immediately as a photographer

Blog_F05-14A

They are no longer alive

Photography can mean so many different things to different people. One of the most poignant and common thoughts

Blog_Putting_your_foot_in_it

Putting Your Foot In It

Some things in life are constant. As babies we grow into childhood, dependant on certain things not changing.

Blog_F28-13A

There were stars in the sea

There is something magical about being in the zone. When you have a camera in your hand and

Randomly Selected

Barbara_Wace_Berlin_Olympics

The Olympic Games in Berlin 1938 – by Barbara Wace

Written by Barbara in April 1995: I worked as a short hand typist at the British Embassy in

From_Dark_to_Light_Thumbnail

From Dark to Light

A film by Jim Shannon: I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share this short documentary by

Blog_F19-34C

West of the Sun: Story Telling

Story tellers. It would appear that the human race are nothing but story tellers. That’s it. That’s all

National_Maritime_Museum_Ansell_Adams

Ansel Adams at the National Maritime Museum

This is for those of you who have not been to see Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains