"Imitation is the best form of flattery"

Photographie, Malen mit Licht, Farben, Emotionen, Gefühle, Ausdruck, Mimik & Gestik, Poesie und Prosa - Bilder, Worte, Posen, Tanz, ... besser kann ich es im Moment eben auch noch nicht für mich definieren, "Kunst" eben, im weitesten Sinne des Wortes.

Samstag, 23. Juni 2012

Namkeen-Snacks and Chewing Tobacco ...

..., whatever you need for your daily life or an leisurely afternoon of pleasure, you can find it all easily at your trusted local street seller's shopping cart.

Everyone being a salesman and entrepreneur, mostly being self-employed, renting the carts but doing business on their own, you can trustfully send your son or grandchildren to buy the required wares for pennies, just at the stalls conveniently passing your home plying the streets or waiting at the next street's corner for their customers orders.

Whatever it takes, it will definetely take your time, but therefore you will have an harmo-
nious shopping experience.

Like in the picture shown above, the contrasting colors of reddish-brown and blue, the old seller with his young customer, postions of subjects (up-left, down-right), the forms and diagonal lines leading your views and the soft shadowless light are all creating the picture of an harmonious and peaceful scene of life taking place on the streets of Agra's Taj Ganj village.

Taking this kind of picture will also require your time and willingness to become part of the scenery, melting into the background, exploring and watching how scenes are developing just in front of your and your camera's eye.

But don't miss the decisive moment, here the boys look into the viewers direction, because otherwise you will just have had a nice experience to remember but no picture to show your experience of the scene to your readers.

If it works, you as the photographer will be forgotten just like an omniscient author telling the story of what really happened when you have been there in the first place.

Already too many words, so stop reading now and go exploring right into the picture.

Thomas Wilden

A Travelling Chobi Wallah
on the Streets of India/Asia

Freitag, 22. Juni 2012

"The street vendor ..."

... was really proud that I took his picture, as you can see easily in the shot.

One of countless scenes so common that after some time you stop to realize the ordinary people trying to do some business on the streets of India.

On the one hand it's a travellers protection against the hassle of street hawkers, touts, would-be guides, "come-into-my-shop, only-look-no-buy"-commission wallahs, ...

... but on the other side you are missing out on the most forecoming ordinary people
and their daily lifes you can meet when travelling around India.

They are all nice to talk to BUT don't take them too serious, and definetely don't go with them and/or buy their stuff for inflated prices. Street food is usually good and fresh, but check you don't get "old" food and don't pay more than the locals do.

If the vendor starts to hassle you or is trying to force you into a buy just stop talking and simply walk away.

In any normal situation, like the guy in my picture, these people are all just proud to have met a foreigner, even to have had their picture taken, which often makes their day and gives them something to brag about with their friends in the evenings.

You will make friends for life and they will recognize you instantly when you come back to their places and towns even after years of absence..

To experience the culture on the streets and their people, enjoy the contacts and by-chance meetings, join into the conversations, try the food and just have a good time.

That's the way how pictures like the one just shown above are made.

Thomas Wilden

A Tavelling Chobi Wallah
on the Streets of India/Asia

The story told above works in this way for the male traveller (photographer, journalist, tourist, ...) BUT I do get feedback from girls/women who tell completely different stories of comparable situations in the streets of India.

Mittwoch, 20. Juni 2012

"The fruit vendor's son ..."

... is actually neither a set-up shot and the boy was also not posing for the camera.

He was not even aware of me being just in front of him, beeing deeply in thought with
his notice pad and bills.

I cropped this scene closely when taking the shot in order to "highlight" the round forms of the fruits with the boy just fitting in. A full-frame picture of the whole shot would just have been another picture of a fruit & vegetable shop in one of countless Indian markets you can see at almost every corner in any town of India.

The picture might even go through as an environmental portrait, if you want a label for this kind of photography.

Since he didn't realize that I took his picture it might be a nice surprise to bring him a print if and when I come back through his hometown on my next trip.


Thomas Wilden
A Travelling Chobi Wallah
on the Streets of India/Asia

Montag, 18. Juni 2012

"Boy on a charpoy ..."

"... waiting for customers passing by to buy a satchel of chewing tobacco."

This street scene is not an arranged one, but the boy actually wanted to have his photo taken and was therefore kind of "posing" for the camera.

That is something i normally dislike and usually don't do, but this is the way it often happens.

You see are nice street scene with people unaware of you in their natural habitat, but as soon as you are raising the camera to take she shot unobtusively in an inconspicuousway your subjects becomes aware of you, not rasing his hands in alarm shouting "No, no dont take my picture!" but setting up their best camera smile and posing themselves in a most likeable way, at least in their view, which is even worse for you as a photographer.

And most often completely spoils the situation by putting you into a cultural dilemma of a looming misunderstanding ahead , e.g. walking away without taking a picture, thereby disappointing your model or taking the shot making them happy but leaving you disappointed by not getting what you saw in the first place.

Anyway, no one said, that street photography would be easy but at least when travelling it makes up for a great "door-opener" to get into contact and having small-talks with many people you meet on your way.

And no, it's no child work at all. The boy goes to school in the mornings and spents some time at his parents roadside tobacco selling stall just in front of their house with the grasing water buffaloes in the courdyard just behind.


Thomas Wilden

A Travelling Chobi Wallah
on the Streets of India/Asia

Samstag, 16. Juni 2012

"Catching your eye ..."

"... with Aishwarya Rai".

The pictures of former super-model, turned Bollywood Star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in this street scene of Agra's Taj Ganj area not only catches the eye of a vary tourist looking for a motor-riksha (tuk-tuk), attracting customers to the nifty riskha-wallah who decorated his riksha with the most beautifully Indian woman on earth.

The eye-catcher also attrated me as a photographer and also catches any possible viewers to spend some time with an otherwise quite ordinary picture.

There are two other lines of view as well, one the woman looking from the half ripped-off poster on the lightpost on the right hand side and secondly the risksha driver turning his back talking to someone unseen in the background.

He was actually the driver of "Aishvarya's ricksha" and a quite welcoming guy to have a chat with, even after realizing that i was only taking a picture and not going for a ride with him and Aishvarya Rai for a sightseeing trip around Agra.

I am taking an exception of the blog's concept here, which is to give one picture and the "story" behind it to you and provide a "close-up" shot of the scene for your convenience.

Thomas Wilden

A Travelling Chobi Wallah
on the streets of India&Asia

Freitag, 15. Juni 2012

My "Hero" is a Honda ...

Indian Children are some of the most grateful subjects and always want to have
their photo taken.

The small boy on the street vendor's cart was obviously dreaming of his future
riding around town on a "Hero Honda"-motorcycle, seeming to completely have
forgotten the corn knob in his hand and for one time not realizing that his photo
has been taken by a foreign photographer.

Thomas Wilden

A Travelling Chobi-Wallah
on the streets of India

Mittwoch, 13. Juni 2012

"Friend or Foe ... ?"

The skeptical view of the street vendor woman in Agra selling roasted corn knobs near the Taj Mahal in one of the surrounding small alleyways of Taj Ganj Area seems to say it all,
but ...

... is this just another nasty tourist taking my picture or a photographer taking his time, connecting and communicating with the local woman he likes to document in his street scene ?

No, the picture alone can't provide the answer, but it tells a story anyway and this is
exactly what is most important about photography, especially street photography,
that is ...

... telling a story, connecting with your subjects and establish a relationship with the viewers of your pictures as well.

I would really like to know what is going on in your mind when you are looking at the
woman watching you from the streets of Agra.

"Are you going to buy a corn knob of her, or simply taking a picture and walking away ?"


Thomas Wilden
A Travelling Chobi Wallah

Freitag, 20. Januar 2012

Chobi Wallah meets Cycle-Ricksha Wallah ...

This guy it met recently plying the streets of Agra near the entrance gates of the Taj Mahal in Taj Ganj area looking for some business, e.g. a customer he could take down to the Red Fort for 5-10 Rupees, maybe.

He gave me and my camera a critical look at first, but let me proceed to take his photo.

I was no business for him, but i met him on his eye-level on the streets of the small village area surrounding the tourist trap "Taj Mahal" lurking just around the corner.

These guys have to rent the cycle-riskshaws mostly, and sometimes they asked me for "Five Rupees going anywhere, go and come back" in the afternoon around 5 o'clock, because they had no business at all during the day, which meant no food at all to eat and nothing to pay their rent for the day.

So whenever you point your camera on a local, please realize he is a human being with his personal story, don't just "point & shoot" and run away and please also don't just offer some money for a quick "tourist shot" as a souvenir.

Respect is what counts on the streets and eye contact is going a long way in this direction.

So far

Thomas Wilden