Arjuna from a Kathakali performance, Fort Cochin, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006
While I would've been very appreciative at the time for a more detailed explanation of the Kathakali show that the FMA and I saw in Kerala, it remains one of my strongest memories about India. The strange costumes with their hoop skirts and elaborate make-up were certainly the foundation of that, but since it's performed nowhere else, it also served to remind me of just how utterly different people and their culture can be, even within the same country.
Weaving fabric for saris, Madurai, India. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006
No big message today, just thought I'd take a break from my China obsession and show a bit more from India. Despite not liking India as much as I'd hoped, the way that Indians really do live their lives on the street, and not behind closed doors, makes for excellent photography.
The FMA and I came across these men hand-weaving fabric for saris by accident. We were stumbling around, just about as lost and confused as current U.S. foreign policy, turned a corner and came smack into 30 meters of thread - this was probably the best thing about Madurai, for us.
Rice terraces on the Dragon's Backbone, Ping'An Village, China. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006
When I wrote about the Dragon's Backbone rice terraces in Guanxi Province, I probably waxed a bit too poetic about how impressed I was with the scenery. I honestly expected my photos to be able to say what I wanted to about the landscape in a stronger, more emotionally convincing way.
Boy, was I wrong.
The naturally neon green stalks, the rich brown of the mud, the thick red algae, the silvery mirrors of water - all these things I anticipated coming together through my lens. I had no delusions of grandeur; it's not as if I was the first person with a camera to visit the area. Still, though, I thought I'd be able to come up with something good
, if not salable.
Once I got the raw shots into Photoshop, though, I was surprised and disappointed at how difficult it would be to salvage the messes I had made of something so naturally perfect. Colors ran together, and focii were hard to determine. Most importantly was to not let the repetition of the steps ruin the depth-of-field, but it couldn't be too overwhelming or it'd look fake.
The photos I took of people in Ping'An looked fine, as you can tell by the previous shot of the toddler holding the hand of the adult. But these landscapes didn't sing; they had no wow finish.
It's not a problem, of course. All it means is that I have to go back and photograph the area again, and any reason to return to the Dragon's Backbone is a good reason.
Looking east at Shinjuku Square Tower, Motilium ebay, Motilium uk, Nishi-Shinjuku. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2005
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Boy and his plastic katana, Motilium uk. 50mg Motilium, Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2005
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Grandmother and baby, Ping'An, China. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006
Children are built cute, obviously, but have you ever wondered why? I've figured it out: it's a survival technique.
"Survival?" you might ask.
"Oh yes," I would say, nodding. "Survival. If babies weren't built cute, we would've tossed all the little suckers out a long time ago. Pains in the proverbial asses. The Titans of Greek myth had the right idea."
At times, you might think that the Chinese have taken this to heart, what with the one-child policy and all. But it turns out that in the rural areas, families are allowed to spawn more than once, mostly for farming and population reasons. Despite being a totalitarian government, even the current rulers of China sometimes show respect to the various ethnic groups under their purview.
This kid, from the town of Ping'An, on the Dragon's Backbone north of Guilin, seemed to embody the spirit of all the toddlers I'd encountered. One foot on the edge of the doorway to the shop and home where he lives, his eyes brimming with both curiousity and hesitation.
Looking south from Moon Hill, near Yangshuo, China. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006
The bottomless treasure chest of images ripe for the plucking in Yangshuo had my camera drooling. Everywhere I went, something was worth photographing, and in no small part because of the breathtaking karsts that framed the background of nearly every shot I took. The town pictured is Ma Ling, about five kilometers east of Yangshuo. (At least, I think it is: my notes are a bit unclear, so it could be Gaotian, not Ma Ling, and it could be west of Yangshuo, not east. But you get the idea.)