Travel Shot: The sculpture with a smile

I came across a very unusual and rare sculpture at the sculpture gallery of the City Palace in Udaipur last February. It was a sculpture of a woman with a smile. What’s so rare about a sculpture with a smile, some of you may ask. Then let me tell you this:

I had seen many types of sculptures — abstract, life-like, larger-than-life, surreal…

I had seen sculptures made from a variety of materials — stone, wood, metal, mesh, ivory, silver, bronze, papier-mache…

I had seen sculptures seen in stylised poses — at dance, at war, making love, in thought, in action…

I had seen sculptures with expressions of anger, agony, pain, peace, serenity and sometimes even with blank expressions, but never a smile. Each time, I left a museum or a gallery or a site where there were sculptures, I would always wonder why. Until I saw this sculpture.

City Palace Museum, Udaipur

The sculpted smile

It was a beautiful sculpture. In spite of the damage to the face, I could not miss the lips turned up in a smile. I’m sure that if the eyes were clearly visible, there would have been a naughty twinkle in them. I promptly named her Muskaan, the one with a smile so infectious that I smiled back at her in return. Did you also smile when you saw Muskaan, dear reader?

I hope that in 2014 I see many more smiles around me — on sculptures and on people and on my blog too.

Happy New Year ! :-D

Travel Shot: The paper pile at the police station

Colva Police Station, GoaFor me, police stations and hospitals are places that are to be seen only when needed and ignored when not needed. Such places are good to have nearby, but not too close, if you know what I mean.

It’s not like I’m scared of them; just that I’d like to keep my distance from them. Most of the times I pretend like they don’t exist !

Last week was one of the times that I didn’t ignore the presence of a police station. I was in Colva (Goa) and the local police station was close to where I was staying. Housed in an old and traditional house that looked really quaint and cute, the Colva Police Station was a landmark in the area. But what caught my attention was a huge pile of papers stacked on an open shelf in the station’s verandah and clearly visible from the road.

Colva Police Station

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Celebrating World Photography Day with Google+

A photograph has picked up a fact of life and that fact will live forever.

With these words, distinguished photographer Raghu Rai drew the audience right into the heart of the magical world of photography.

World Photography Day, Google +, Raghy RaiNot that he really needed to considering that the select audience comprised professional and amateur photographers, and also photography enthusiasts like me who had been specially invited by Google+ to commemorate World Photography Day at the Tote on the Turf restaurant in Mumbai.

Raghu Rai delivered the Keynote Address at the event and it was one where he spoke of his own journey as a photographer and shared experiences and anecdotes on developments in the field of photography and transitions over the years; how he never touched a film camera after getting introduced to a digital camera; how he was introduced to Google and its various features by his daughter, and much more. He also engaged with the audience and answered their questions. I particularly liked his response to a question on how to choose a mentor. His answer: “Your conscience is the best mentor you can ever have.”

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Travel Shot: 50 shades of grey

I don’t like grey as a colour to wear.

But grey as a colour elsewhere is a different story altogether. I love using grey while doing a page layout for a report or a book or even a cover design. I love the greys that one can see in a cloud covered, rain-soaked monsoon sea in Mumbai. I love it if I can bring in a touch of grey into the frame while photographing.

One day, I managed to capture not a touch of grey but a whole range of greys from a dark stormy grey to a light wispy grey, with about 50 shades of grey separating these two.

Canary Wharf, London

This photograph was taken almost at the end of a great day spent exploring the Docklands of London and travelling by the DLR. This was at Canary Wharf the heart of London’s financial district and also its central business district. The steel and glass and the moody grey skies put up a great show for photo-ops. I took quite a few, but this one remains my favourite. I find it interesting how the grey dominates the frame, but does not overwhelm or depress. And I love that little touch of red and glassy green from the windows, which adds that something special to the picture. It’s almost like poetry !

Don’t you think these different shades of grey convey power, business, purpose and beauty all at the same time?

Travel Shot : An… er… village scene

What happens when enthusiastic designers and planners go overboard about a theme or take their brief too seriously? See for yourself.

2nd September 2010: Reproduction of a village scene at the Almatti Dam Gardens

You can see the above reproduction of a village scene and other scenes as well along with, dinosaurs, birds, giant turtles and frogs, crocodiles, naked little boys, Krishna frolicking with gopikas, etc. at the Almatti Dam Gardens, in northern Karnataka. Though the large gardens are beautifully laid out, the whole effect is spoiled by placing sculptures, statues, and what-have-yous like the one above. The effect is unbelievably cheesy. You can see more such photographs here.

Have you come across something like this before?

Travel Shot: Brihadeeshwara Temple

Brihadeeshwara Temple

My parents and I visited the Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, in December 2005. We couldn’t have chosen a worse time as it was raining heavily and there a flood alert as well. The upside was this had deterred a lot of tourists and we arrived to a practically deserted temple at around 8.30 in the morning. Needless to say, I was delighted at the lack of people around.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Brihadeeshwara Temple Complex is very well maintained and remains, to this day, one of the most beautiful and cleanest temples that I have seen. The temple, which celebrated in 1000th anniversary earlier this year, is huge and yet, very compact and intimate.

I took many photographs of the Temple, but the one featured here is my favourite as the wet temple ground as well as the perspective add a mysterious depth to this magnificent temple. Don’t you think so?