For me photography isn’t just about creating beautiful images Its about making connections with people first and foremost.
Recently I was asked to show my best work. “I want to see how good of a photographer you really are”, I think were the words that were presented to me. That got me to thinking about photography and my connection with it over the years and what it means for me to call myself a photographer.
Right away I knew without a doubt what it was that I was going to bring to the interview even though it had nothing to do with the type of photography that he was maybe going to hire me for.
Rewind to 2014 up in the Parvati Valley at a place called Manakarin in India. Some how on my return trip from Dharamasla I got off the bus and stayed in a tiny town for the night to break up my trip heading south from the mountains. The next morning on my walk to the bus station I was talked into hiring a car instead of taking the local bus. He took me to Manakarin. On our way up the mountain I couldn’t help but notice men on motorbikes sometimes 3 on a single bike flying by us heading up the mountain.
They were even coming down as well. All I could really see was the bright but distinctive color of saffron orange flowing off these men as they all passed. They were wrapped around their faces, these beautiful turbans, protecting them from the sun, dust and dirt.
It turned out that there was a massive pilgrimage that was taking place and I happened to be there when these Sikhs were coming all the way from Amritsar.
As soon as I arrived and wandered over the bridge and into the tiny town which was snuggled up along the
north side of the valley I realized that this place was pure magic.
I wandered down the tiny street and ended up finding a hotel and checked in.
Then what was about to happen I really could never have suspected. In all my life I had never met and talked with so many friendly strangers who were so eager to find out who I was and what I was doing there. Through out that first evening in Parvati valley, Manakarin I soon found out quite quickly how friendly and engaging the Sikh people were.
I talked with so many kind Sikhs’ that evening it was really quite unreal. I mean I even danced on the street.
It felt as if I were traveling with a massive community of friends.
The next morning continued in the same fashion. I couldn’t go far without having to stop and talk with all these new acquaintances.
What ensued is really hard to grasp as it all happened so quickly.
The next 48hrs of my life would not be the same.
Amidst my morning walk I quickly found out that I was leaving in 20 minutes time and had to go pack and get ready for the ride of my life. With out really knowing how I ended up joining a lorie full of returning sikhs to Amristar. I was pretty nervous and wondered if I was actually making the right call by joining a bunch of complete strangers. I resigned to the fact that if anything were to happen then such was life.
Now I’m going deviate from the story at hand as I feel that I need to try and explain something more for myself than anything
I’ve been meaning to post this experience I’ve had for some time now and I always felt that it wasn’t the right time and now I know why I had waited.
We all live within a set of boundaries and comforts of which we have grown up to adopt. Ideas and notions which shape the way we view others.
To live a life based on fear is to me sad and harmful.
In the end we all come into this world the same way. We all have feelings and express joy, sadness and empathy. We all can show love and we all can believe that yes even though we may not be from the same place or dress in the same clothes we all can share the beauty of finding connections with strangers.
This series of images is my ode to living life without fear, without anger and most of all this series of images is an ode to live life everyday as if it were the beautiful and mysteriously magical place it is.
And that we all get to share this crazy trip with one another!
There were so many questions running through my mind.
So many that I had to just forget about the nagging what if’s and press on.
And that is what I did. I went to my hotel tried to make sure that I didn’t forget anything while hurriedly packing and checked out at like 9am.
“Where are you going”, asked the curious hotel worker? “Umm I’m going to Amritsar on a lorie”, I said. “I, see”. the curious and baffled gentleman answered back.
Thinking back now I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat that morning.
When ever I have pursued the act of traveling I’ve always strived to relinquish any set itinerary and or prescribed list of destinations that I had to see and or experience. Looking back now at this particular style of traveling I’m sure it is quite common to many but either you travel this way or you travel with a set agenda.
Peace and Love.