India is a land of great extremes, in a multiplicity of ways. The extreme polarity of beauty and ugliness, rich and poor, are constantly reoccurring themes. The Taj Mahal vs. the slums of Calcutta. The stunning silk brocades of Varanasi vs. the rags worn by those who weave them. You get the picture.
And so it’s quite interesting to consider how a photographer like David Lazar, best known for his fine art approach to travel photography, will reveal India through his lens. The highly regarded Nat Geo contributor from Brisbane, Australia is fascinated by India. But his fascination, at least in terms of his photography, is focused almost exclusively in its more beautiful expressions. It’s not that he never photographs the grittier side of life, it’s just that his fine art vision doesn’t as easily accommodate it.
The majority of the following 16 images were taken in April, 2017 while researching for a 2018 photo tour workshop. So this is more of a sneak preview of coming attractions than the results of a long term project. As good as these images are, David is just beginning to scratch the surface of this truly incredible photographic destination, and looks forward to sharing them with the readers of Photography Life in the future.
Sunrise @ Trichy Temple, in the state of Tamil Nadu, south India
Sunrise worship on the Ganges in India’s holiest city, Varanasi. Taken from a rowboat @ the main bathing ghat, Dashashwamedh.
Sadhu on the Ganges. Taken near Manikarnika cremation ghat. Leaning on the right side of the image, is the well known sunken Shiva temple @ Scindia Ghat.
Portrait of a young Varanasi snake charmer taking a break from his uncooperative cobra, to pose for David.
Nicely caught moment of a family and a neighbor boy in front of their homes in the endlessly winding and colorful lanes of Varanasi’s old city.
The fires of Varanasi’s Manikarnika cremation ghats have been burning ceaselessly for many centuries. It is here that Hindus believe final salvation is attained in the fires of Moksha, with their ashes released to the divine embrace of Mother Ganga.
The Taj Mahal in Agra was completed in 1643 and is often called the world’s greatest monument to love. It is the mausoleum of the beloved wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Her early death inspired him to commission its creation.
The Taj Mahal from across the Jamuna River at the never realized site of a second Taj, to have been made entirely of black marble.
Children at play in the ancient alleys of the Blue City, Jodhpur.
Holi celebration inside the legendary desert fort of Jaisalmer.
The Palace of the Winds, in Jaipur. The “palace” is little more than a façade, and was built as a viewpoint for royals to witness grand processions while not being seen by the public.
Dancer at Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.
Portait of a Bishnoi woman in a small desert village outside of Jaipur. The Bishnoi are an ethnic minority known for their conservation of the environment and dedication to the care of animals.
Camel toes in the Thar Desert dunes outside of Jaisalmer.
A camel driver tends his best friends at sunset – Jaisalmer.
The Stepwell, Jaipur. Grand stepwells were not primarily built as water sources, but to serve as air conditioning units for the small royal palaces built inside them.
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