The Red Light District: Return from India 05/11

UPDATES AND APOLOGIES 13-05-11:

So, the return from the much anticipated trip to India.

It was a success. There is not much more that can be said in all honesty. Everything about it was perfect – just right. Even the drawbacks and hardships were good fun and have given me good memories.

The resulting images are stunning, even if I do say so myself. Please take a look – the easiest way is to go to the India Gallery. I am just printing them at the moment and will be for a while, so keep checking back.

I got home clutching a plastic bag bursting with around seventy rolls of film and a healthy dose of impatience to get them developed. Unfortunately I also had a healthy dose of television work and an uncontrollable need to sit on the toilet every few hours. So it took me a while to get them all developed. As usual it was a hard slog, scattered with late nights and early mornings, and a full range of emotions, pure and undiluted. Fear, elation, trepidation and joy swirled around inside me as they always have done and doubtless always will, despite having developed over 1500 films so far.

Then came the contacts. I have to say I was dreading them as they bring very little creative joy. They are a necessity, and in the long term you are always thankful you did them, but then and there, in the midst of doing them, you just feel like they are holding you back. I think though, that just this once, they sort of happened, without any fuss or drama. Perhaps the pull and anticipation of doing the prints proper pulled me through to the other side.

And finally the printing. Always a pleasure, always a joy, bringing new images to life, taken from those moments, split second decisions, framing random events that are out of your control into works of art. Nurturing them through the insecurities of little understood, almost magical alchemy, onto a concrete, real, firm sheet of paper. It is why I do what I do. I still do not understand how I achieve what I achieve but I seem to be able to do it time and time again, always with eagerness, childlike awe and pleasure. I will not be stopping.

Having waxed lyrical about the success of the trip and how wonderful it was, I did fail in one aspect of it. The blog. The writing.

I tried. I even wrote notes and thought about it (almost) continuously. But there was no internet or mobile connection in Leh so I could not upload anything which meant there was no urgent need to finish the writing every night. Plus every time I sat down to do so my eyes suddenly started closing. Then once we were back in the UK, somehow developing the film and printing took precedence. Understandably. So after much thought and soul searching (well, a bit anyway) I have decided to substitute the intended blog from India with a series of short vignettes and memories from the trip. I will add them below this blog as and when I write them, but when done they will cover all aspects of our time in India chronologically. Printing the photographs is of course bringing back many memories and with all the notes I wrote there is plenty for me to turn to when choosing what to write.

So, without further ado (as they say), I shall get on with it and try and split my time between printing and writing. Hopefully the server wont crash on me, what with all the activity there’s going to be…

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