22 November 2008

Bishnoi man near Jodhpur

Bishnoi man winding turban near Jodhpur
I tagged along with seven young Israelis on a jeep tour; I felt like a tourist but everyone — my companions, the guide, the people we met — seemed to enjoy the occasion. This elderly man certainly seemed happy to demonstrate his morning ritual, and to pose with the Israeli women. I assume he's been photographed countless times. The bright morning sunlight coupled with his brilliantly white clothing made photographing difficult, but, aware of the risk of blowing out the highlights, I underexposed and got away with it.

Bishnoi hold strong beliefs based on respect and compassion for all living beings. Among the 29 rules by which they live (Hindi Bis = 20 and no = 9; thus 29) is the injunction to inspect and clean firewood in case they inadvertently burn insects or other small lives. Other rules, such as the separation of babies and mothers for 30 days after the birth, while difficult to reconcile with western attitudes and knowledge, are intended to provide rest for women at important times.

All content © 2008 Pete McGregor


Emma said...

Confidently, I can tell you that I would have died if separated from my boy for 30 days after his birth. Now I've got to go Google the Bishnoi for more information. =)

Avus said...

Examining the photograph, I was mentally congratulating you on managing the highlights on the old gentleman's dress - very difficult. The I read about your deliberate under exposure to compensate. Worked a treat, Pete!

pohanginapete said...

Emma, learning things like that — things that challenge what we take for granted — must be one of the most valuable things about travelling. It's not necessary to agree or disagree with what challenges us; what matters is the challenge to understand, and the realisation that others hold such differing beliefs.

Avus, the near-instant feedback from a digital camera makes learning so much faster. I knew, even before photographing, that I'd have to under-expose, and the histogram on the LCD confirmed I'd guessed correctly. I doubt I'd have known so accurately if I'd continued to use film — and many of the popular films simply couldn't have handled that contrast range (Velvia, for example, would have been a disaster, as it's a high contrast film, and its ultra-saturated reds would have ruined the photo).