Photographing the Photographers
By Inder Gopal
27 Nov 2012
So many things kept me away from blogging and I have quite a backlog to cover up. There was this trip to Ladhak last year, then there was a tracking to the Kumaon area in Uttara Khund, India plus a tit bits here and there that needed to be here. I need to catch up fast, hopefully I can do it.
I have just returned from one of the very famous & colorful fairs of Rajasthan, India. The Pushkar Fair is a one of those fairs that attracts hordes of photographers to it from world over. I do feel there would be a time when it would be a one to one ratio of photographers with cattle traders. Digital has given to so many a confidence level of achieving good pictures. This includes amateurs, passionate and commercial photographers not forgetting the mobile phone shoots who will out number the traders. Present in the fair were in the age group of the very young ones and the very young ones on the other side of the age to the young ones. These 10 days is the main earning time of the Pushkar people. People from far also come to set up stalls. I was talking to the fancy sticks being made there. They were from Madhya Pradesh. It is another story with photographs, soon to follow.
So many nationalities are found to be there in one spot of a ten days fair. Well some arrive early to catch the folks bringing their cattle, setting up their camps in the open massive desert ground. The traders come to sell camels, horses and donkeys but prominently camels and horses. It is lively through out the fair period.
This was my second visit to this fair. The last visit was quite many years back. I reached when the traders were leaving with their animals. I really have a very bad sense of direction. The evening we reached I saw lots of camels herd moving pretty fast. I thought they were reaching the fair grounds, to my disappointment in the morning I got to know they had left the venue. The camp area was nearly empty.
This time around I was a little alert with some of my problems reduced I planned to reach in the early days when the traders come with their animals to sell. FaceBook has been quite a source of information as so many photographers have made it a business to organise photography groups taking them to so many places of interest. So many workshops are taking place as well. The affordability of digital cameras in so many models has increased the number of photographers all over the world. Let us not give a miss to the mobile phone cameras that are extensively used by many. Accounting them in the number of photographers surely they would be quite close to the ratio mentioned earlier with the traders.
One of the photographers, Mr. Jasminder Oberoi, I had been having an interaction only in FaceBook was traveling by bus to Ajmer then from there Pushkar about 10 kilometers by taxi. So I had my ticket booked in the same bus run by the Rajasthan Government. He was also doing a conducted photography trip though his under studies were reaching Pushkar from different cities. Another group he would have come in on the 24th of November 2012. He had booked his accommodation quite a distance away from the camp grounds. I was lucky to have got my accommodation just 3 minutes from the main action area. The Aroma Hotel was good enough for the stay. The owner was very friendly and helpful. I had my stay planned till the 24th but due to an urgent meeting I had to cut short my visit and spent only 3 days and 2 nights. In the hind sight I feel it was enough, but in a photographers life nothing is enough where photo opportunities are multiple.
Still one feels getting stale where one needs to get away for a short break to restart shooting. Of the ten days the last four to five days lots of pilgrims come for the holy bath in the pond where the Brahma temple is situated. It is only one of its kind temple in India, though our temple in Garhganga is another that has a Brahma Temple. Do not why but temples dedicated to Brahma are not there as we find of other deities.
It was great to have met Sanjay Narain an old photographer friend in the morning while I was returning to my hotel room after a failed search of a sports wirst band for my strained wrist. A full day we spent together shooting plus early morning hours of the next.
Well next day evening came across another photographer Mr. Dalip from FaceBook. It was nice to have had their company.
There was so much of photography equipment that I have never seen in my life being in action. It was pretty interesting so I started photographing the photographers in between looking up my images. All these are grab shots that I like to share in this blog. I am sure many would be interested to visit this fair next year.