The fringes of society are not the only point of convergence for odd characters. Least of all in India. Confronted by a foreigner with a camera, a man of modest means, excited by said foreigner’s appearance and interest in him, might act rather queerly. Although this response isn’t strictly natural in the general sense, it is by no means posed or artificial, as the subject is acting entirely of their own accord. So when they proffer bananas in shock, or hide their face behind a cup of chai or a cigarette, that’s the reaction I capture. The most frequent response is nervously calling out to friends nearby to “get a load of this”.
There’s something about Indian men above the age of fifty. Their features seem to lend themselves to being photographed. When they have beards, they are twice as photogenic, and when they crack a smile, it’s twice as radiant as that of a man half their age. One of my favorite aspects of the British colonial residue (or perhaps the Indian custom rubbed off on the Brits!) is the extravagant facial hair exhibited by many Indian men of a certain age – Keralites with enormous mustaches are not as common as in Tamil Nadu, but when they do it, they do it with class.
Throughout Kerala, colorful trucks unload tons of produce and commodities every morning. Wholesalers, warehouses, and markets all maintain a steady flow of goods – and the cycle begins anew each morning. I occasionally venture into central Cochin’s main market (Broadway) to photograph the process, and the colorful people that are washed about by the endless tide of fruits and vegetables, fish and fowl.
Everywhere you go in India, even cities considered ‘modern’ by today’s standards, there are relics of the past. Architecture, attire, animals walking through the street. In Cochin, one of Kerala’s biggest cities, locals don’t even look twice if an elephant walks down the street – the same street with IT parks and shopping malls on it. Continue reading