Each year in October/November for around a week, the tiny holy village of Pushkar, in Rajasthan, India, is swamped with several hundred thousand visitors. Camel herders, pilgrims, acrobats, touts, nomads, tourists, both Indian and foreign, all flock to Pushkar for the annual Camel Fair. While camel traders haggle on the trading field, children walk makeshift tightropes as their parents play instruments and crowds gather to watch. The whole scene is incredible.
I met this man on the trading field, on one of the first mornings of the fair. I was out there early – around 6am, for sunrise, thinking that I’d get out there before the crowds, and I was partially correct – I beat everyone, except the other photographers! I’ve never seen so many other photographers, many with two or three big cameras and huge lenses hanging around their necks. My 5d2 and 135L looked small in comparison (but it isn’t the size that counts, right???).
This man was just waiting with his camels on the trading field. I believe he, like many of the other traders, is basically a nomad, with no fixed home, although he may have certain villages that he stays at during the year. I was drawn to him because of this incredible facial expression, which didn’t change at all the whole time we interacted. He looked weather-worn, sun-baked, but also proud and strong – like a desert warrior.
Thomas Stewart | International Wedding Photographer, Sydney
Portrait of a Hand
Ok, so this isn’t your normal portrait. But I think this hand has the same lines, character, and stories to tell as the thousands of faces I’ve photographed during my travels around the world.
I was wandering through Kathmandu. the city is truly an amazing place to just wander, and soak up the incredible atmosphere. I’m usually on the lookout for interesting faces to photograph, and there is no shortage of these in Nepal. I distinctly recall on this day that I paused for a moment at an intersection on one of Kathmandu’s tiny streets, looked down, and saw a woman sitting at her stall selling peanuts. She was smoking, watching people pass by, with a distant look in her eyes. She had smoked her cigarette down to a point where I could hardly see it – the only evidence was a small trail of smoke curling out from her fingers.
I managed to snap one quick frame before the Kathmandu footpath traffic surged forward, taking it with me. I often look at this shot and wonder how old this woman was.. what she’s been through in life.. how much money she makes by selling her peanuts on the side of the road? (is this an overly Western question to ask – how much money she makes? Does it even matter, if she has enough to live on?)
Even though this is a portait, I never even saw this woman’s face.
Wedding Photographers Wollongong – Thomas Stewart
A portrait from lakeside in Pokhara, Nepal. This guy was crouched down chatting with another guy at the edge of the main lake in Pokhara. I’ve realised that many of my portraits are from Pokhara. It seems that the place was either full of people who were interesting and willing to be photographed, or that it somehow inspired me to push myself further than normal to shoot more portraits. Not sure which it was but both are good things.
Not much to type tonight – Sunday night and I’m quite tired. More tomorrow 🙂
Wollongong & Bowral Wedding Photographer, Thomas Stewart
Panamanian Rasta, Mon
I was quite surprised at the number of Rastas in Panama, particularly Panama City. I don’t mean rastas as in just people with dreads, I mean real Rastafarians, who not only sport dreadlocks but also adhere to the religion’s code of ethics and interesting practices. To be honest I can’t remember this guy’s name, but I do recall he was working in a street market in Panama City, selling hand-made bracelets and other things like hats and reggae mix-cds. I bought a little hemp bracelet from him and we had a chat. I wanted to take his photo from the moment I saw him but I could also tell from the start that he was a little cagey and didn’t seem too open to chat with a big strange white guy with a huge camera. After a while he loosened up and let me shoot this one frame of him.
His girlfriend (also Rastafarian) gave me her email address and asked that I email her the photo, which I did. We’re now friends on Facebook too 🙂
I love how being into photography, and wanting to take people’s photos, can be used as an ice-breaker for me to meet people while traveling. Maybe other people find it easy to just start talking to random strangers while traveling; I do find it easy, to an extent. But with the purpose of taking their photo, I find it a little easier to just start a discussion with a random stranger.
Thomas Stewart Photography – Wollongong’s Best Wedding Photographer
I met her in the awesome market in Pisac, in Peru’s sacred valley. Pisac is a town full of ruins and interesting Incan history; indeed the market itself has been running every week for quite some time. You can find the usual things like handicrafts, scarfs, jackets, bracelets, rings, mugs, hammocks, etc. I’d been to quite a few big markets on my trip (including the massive market in Otavalo, Ecuador) but I still enjoyed this market very much.
I didn’t feel like hiking around the town so, as I often do while traveling, I decided to wander the market, and I set myself a target of 10 portraits for the next few hours. I find that setting photographic goals such as this one greatly improve my chances of getting some good shots. Personally I get better shots this way than wandering aimlessly for the day, shooting what I see… this may work for others: to each their own!
This girl was just standing in one of the tiny alleys which make up the market, eating her bread. If you’re wondering – the native Peruvian people (those who are direct descendants of the mighty Incas) actually do dress like this on a day to day basis. This girl isn’t wearing festive or celebratory clothing; this is just how she leaves her house each day. I think this is fantastic. I’ve said in another of my posts that sometimes when I meet people traveling, I can look into their eyes and almost see a glimpse of generations past in their features. Looking at this girl I felt exactly that. Her features weren’t as typically Incan as other people I photographed in Peru, but there was something about her eyes which was quite mesmerising.
She was not camera shy at all and let me shoot 5 or 6 frames, which I then showed her mother who was standing nearby. A wonderful experience for me and one of my fav portraits from the last year or so.
Thomas Stewart, Bowral Wedding Photographer, Wollongong Wedding Photographer
Our for a Stroll
Another one from Pokhara, Nepal. Met this nice man while walking in the back streets of Pokhara. We shook hands, I took his picture, we shook hands again then parted ways. Not sure if I had had enough coffee yet that morning so we didn’t end up talking too much. But I still remember him! He was a nice guy.
Wedding Photographer in Wollongong, Thomas Stewart
Daylesford wine bar & restaurant – amazing wine and food. Full blog post of this amazing place coming soon.
Wedding Photographer Wollongong – Thomas Stewart
Light is key
No time for text today (off to shoot a wedding) – I.Love.Light.
Thomas Stewart – Wedding Photographer Wollongong
Gawd, I’m terrible at blogging. Ok so I suppose my blog rate isn’t as bad as others, but as I write this post I’m saddened to think that I haven’t posted in around 5 days. Bad, bad Tom. I always have good intentions to spend half an hour blogging before going to bed but then I end up nodding off, or watching Californication and forgetting about the blog. So I’m going to make a real effort to blog every day.
Today’s portrait is of a lovely girl I met in the town of Pisac, in Peru’s Sacred Valley an amazing place peppered with ancient Incan ruins. I love photographing ruins, but I love photographing people even more. This girl had some baby goats and she was walking them round the town. As with many of my portrait subjects, I was really attracted to her eyes, which seemed somehow timeless, as if there was some deep sadness within which one could catch briefly from a certain angle. She had this windswept look about her- granted it was quite a blustery day when I met her.
My camera and lenses had just beed stolen so I was using my backup (Canon 40d + 50 f/1.4) equipment. I was pretty depressed that all my main gear was no longer with me and I think I’d foolishly resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to take good shots without my 5d2 and 135L. Then I met this girl, and this ended up being one of my fav photos from my entire 5 months in Latin America.
Thomas Stewart – Wollongong Wedding Photographer
She was lovely
She was sitting on the steps of a doorway in the amazing city of Granada, Nicaragua, when I met her. I was amazed by her wrinkles! I know that wrinkles are often deemed as being something negative, but I’ve never understood this. I think each wrinkle shows how many things a person has experienced in life. I’m actually happy when I find a new wrinkle on my forehead… which happens quite often now that I’m pushing 30.
Being able to speak Spanish is a huge benefit while travelling in Latin America. I was able to sit down and talk with this woman for 20 minutes or so. Her story was eerily similar to that of someone else I met in Granada, Martin. She told me how she had no-where to live, and no money. She was staying with a friend for the moment, but couldn’t stay there for long, and had no idea what she’d do next. She ate a small amount of rice for each meal, and spent her days begging in the street.
Obviously I felt a lot of pity for this lady. I often wonder why I was born into relative luxury compared to the life that so many in the world were born into. It doesn’t seem fair.
I ended up giving this woman some money; probably more than I would normally give someone in this situation, which would usually be the equivalent of 20 cents or something similar. Some have expressed their dislike of this practice, but I still feel that sometimes it justified. Today I listened to the newly released TWiT Photo podcast (which I love). The amazing travel photographer Art Wolfe was being interviewed. One issue he was discussing was that of giving money to people you photograph while traveling; Art feels very strongly that if you, as a photographer, take 10 minutes of a person’s time taking their photo, leaving them with a small amount of money is fine. I agree with him – I leave happily with a photo, and my subject is also happy as they’ve made some money. I know some heartily disagree with this 🙂
Anyway, I left this woman with a bit of money as she obviously wasn’t doing too well. I still now wonder how she’s doing, and whether or not things improved for her. I hope so.
Thomas Stewart – Wollongong Wedding Photographer