As you probably know if you stop by regularly, my favorite photographic subjects are people. With all their range of emotion and physical variety, they are endlessly fascinating to me. In the case of photographing women, my femininity serves me well.
Indian women’s reserve and shyness around men, especially foreign men challenge the male photographer. With me, though, they open up easily and are just as curious about me as I am about them. Once they get used to me, which doesn’t take long, they enjoy both the attention and the cultural interaction. We laugh together as they inspect my jewelry, makeup and hairdo. After our little exchange, it is clear that we have much in common as women. They relax as I photograph them.
Naturally, it is what we don’t have in common that attracts me in the first place. It is partly their style of dress but more significantly, it is their lack of guile and their innocence that is so arresting. I come away wondering how did I lose these qualities and maybe, just maybe,
a little of their sweetness will rub off on me. As I aspire to capture their essence, I never stop clicking. They keep laughing.
As India and its population modernizes, I know that women like these are a disappearing breed. It does sadden me but I can certainly understand why and how this happens. Younger women are now working outside of the home and that requires them to dress and even think differently. Their style is different from their Western counter parts but their contemporary styles have little in common with their elders.
Along with that more contemporary style of dress, they wear a more wary expression too. It isn’t unfriendly just more cautious.
One lesson India taught me very early on from Goenkaji is: all things change; nothing stays the same. It is my great fortune to document a bit of these changes for your pleasure and mine!