This was another week where I didn’t feel like going outside to do any photography but, yet again, I managed to get something to fit the theme.
A bit of background: Nataraja is Lord Shiva in his Cosmic Dancer form (Lord Shiva is one representation of the Holy Trinity of Hinduism – Shiva is the The Destroyer of the Trinity)
I used many ‘negatives’ in this image – quite a lot them are symbolic to me due to the problems on my University at present. However, this is not the space for politics but for my love of art (photography in particular) and the way it lets me express myself. So, my many takes on the ‘negative space’:
I used a dark idol as opposed to one in brass or silver or gold or any other metal..
This form of the idol is known as the Destroyer
Dance is being used to destroy a world filled with so many negative energies and make space for a new world to be created
There are places for light as well as darkness in this image – however there is use of ‘neutral spaces’ to highlight both
This might not be the BEST representation of negative space in photography, but I used this week’s theme as a more symbolic means this week.
Today you are both celebrating the fact that you have a child who made it to 30 years. I’m celebrating the fact that you made it 30 years into parenthood without killing your mischievous offspring. *hahah* For that I thank you dearly as I’m thrilled to be alive, to meet this milestone. I know you love me and are proud of me and all that good stuff. I also know that there were trying times when I was a less than disciplined child. Let’s celebrate the fact that all three of us made it this far in life together!!!
Most people would do a birthday post with their achievements so far in life and maybe some resolutions for the next couple years. I think the distance from home has put me in a ‘reflective’ mood this year. I don’t want to look to the future; I want to look at my past – relive some of the things that have made me who I am today.
You might not realise it but there are many things I’d like to remind you of right now. Let’s call this a trip down memory lane from my point of view:
Mom, I remember quite a few times you would chase me to give me some ‘good lashes.’ Come on, Mom! Why would anyone refer to a spanking as ‘good’??? I don’t see what was so ‘good’ about those! Therefore, I ran away, even when you called me. *smirks* I probably deserved quite a lot of those. Okay! I probably deserved all as you never raised you hand at me unless I was really horrid. However, let’s look at the good side of those ‘spanking chases’: (1) I helped to keep you fit Mom, and, (2) I learned to hide my mischief more efficiently, thus, you were less stressed out and forced to discipline me! Win-win.
I remember the time Dad forgot me at school when I was in Form 2. I still don’t know what happened that day. I remember sitting under that tree in the school yard and waiting and waiting and still no Dad. Finally, at about 5pm (he’d normally get me at 3:30pm and take me to the office) I called him only to find out that he was almost home – at the head of the street. I think he broke a few speed limits that day because in a matter of 10 minutes he was there for me. Mom, we never told you this then cause I got bribed with the promise of ice-cream but I’m happily sharing this now as I don’t think he ever did fulfill that bargain. *evil grin*
Yes, I shared a few ‘bad memories’ first. They make me laugh when I think of them. In addition, as I grew older, the ‘parent training’ of you two became easier and you stopped spanking me and forgetting me. I think we turned out okay…
Now, for some of the good memories:
Mom, do you remember holding my hand and taking me to nursery school? This should have taken us a maximum of 10 minutes walking but it invariably turned into about half hour. The reason was because I needed to say ‘good morning’ to everyone I saw on the way and would also strike up conversations with the old ladies in the street. You taught me early in life to be polite to people and to enjoy the simple things in life.
Dad, do you remember the time when you were at home with me when I was in Prep A? You would help me to get dressed for school and we were both challenged with the task of combing my hair! Then you would take me to school; you were the only Dad among all the mothers – I was very proud about this. Every afternoon I’d stand up in class and peep through the window and you would be there under the tree outside the compound waiting to take me home. That taught me the security of having a family.
Mom, I remember you carrying me down this long road to a clinic when I was very sick. I used to wonder if that road would ever end and I’d feel myself slipping away from you because I was always so tired and you would instinctively hold me tighter to prevent me from falling. The sun was always hot and you had to juggle an umbrella and a sick child, yet you never dropped me. Dad, I remember that the only thing I really wanted to eat besides mashed potatoes when I was sick was noodle soup. Mom didn’t know how to prepare it at that point in time so you bought the packets and would cook it for me when you came home from work. There were times I wasn’t totally conscious but whenever I opened my eyes either one of you or both of you would be there. I also remember a kitten – all over black with a white star on his neck and green eyes. I’m not sure now if he was real or a figment of my imagination as he disappeared when I got well. Was he real? Anyways, these things taught me that true love from a parent is a joy that is felt and comes from small things in life – a hug, a smile, time spent with each other.
I remember that I failed math (miserably) when I changed schools. I was so devastated that I cried and cried and cried. Dad, you spent that Christmas vacation teaching me arithmetic so that I won’t fail again. Then, once we’ve conquered that challenge, you taught me advanced algebra so I’ll feel good about myself. This empowered me to keep on trying even when I failed.
There was this period of time when I would go to Modo’s after school because you were attending afternoon classes in order to enter CPCE, Mom. Even when you fulfilled the ‘traditional’ roles of a woman (mother and wife) you pursued your dreams. The joy I would feel when I stood on that side step and saw you coming up the road was surreal. We’d walk home hand in hand and talk about our days – well mostly me as I was and still can be a talkative person. It taught me to follow my dreams, never give up!
I remember the first time I saw Bringle – my first dog ever! He was a cute little grey mongrel with a cold black nose and a curled tail and I fell in love with him on sight! Neither of you told me I was getting a dog but simply said that there was something downstairs for me after I heard the gate open and close. He was quite possibly the BEST PRESENT EVER! Following Bringle, the adoption of random strays over the years taught me compassion and provided a foundation to nurture my love of animals.
Our home is a home because it is a place where those in need can find shelter – there is always a meal to be had and friendly advice. This was proven time and again when family and friends would visit. I have these images in my head of you two hanging out with my friends – even when said friends came to see ME. The guys would go sit and chat with Dad for a few minutes or watch television. Mom would hang out with us in the living room after work on the occasions she came home to an ‘invasion’. This wasn’t restricted to the physical location but the many times Mom would cook us dinner (little rotis with curry and tea) and Dad would transport them to the university when we wanted to stay late for one reason or another.
Dad you taught me to play cricket – even when you didn’t initially approve of me pursuing a sport when I had studies. You instructed me on how to keep a good line and deliver a ball, how to catch and how to bat. I never was and never will be a great cricketer but I was good enough to captain the girls’ team at QC for three years and was even awarded the School Colours Medal. This support extended to other hobbies as well and I’m happy you encouraged me to pursue my dreams, also.
Mom, every time I was on stage for a prize giving ceremony or for a graduation, I would instinctively look for you in the crowd. I don’t know if you know this but it’s true. Both Dad and you contributed to my education in many ways. But I remember you first because I remember doing homework or assignments and meals would miraculously appear next to me. I’d eat and the empty plates and cups would disappear. You did magic! You taught me to write – not my nursery school teacher. You are my first teacher and considering where I am now, you have a lot to be proud of Teacher Pan!
There are so many more memories, great memories, that I can share; but there isn’t enough time or space for me to write them down. You two have always been the foundation of my life and no matter what I chose, even if you thought I could have made a better choice, you supported me. Every success I’ve had in life is because of you and I’ll never forget it. You made home a place where I feel safe. You made me the woman I am today – confident, kind and giving. The best lessons in life came not from my classrooms but from you two and I thank you for them.
I love you two. Knowing you return this love makes me strong enough to conquer the world! Happy 30 years of parenthood to you!!!
2015 – Project 52 / 52Frames / A Picture a Week Challenge
The Excuse: I was in an accident. Although I was lucky to escape with a few scratches and bruises, I was still very much affected by all of it. Added to this there were some other things happening in my life that just de-motivated me from doing anything…photography was most definitely included.
Having said that I’m also going to say that I’m not very proud of my executions for weeks 06 and 07. However, the concepts I’ll work with again to try and properly represent them.
Week 06 – Rule of Odds
The problems with this image are numerous.Firstly, it’s plainly point and shoot in nature – there’s nothing creative about it. Upon reflection, I could have stood and tried to get the top-view as I think the concentric circles would have made it stronger. In addition, it’s definitely not sharp – a result of having injuries on my dominant hand. However, I could have asked a friend to help me set up a tripod…
What I learnt? Don’t use your injuries to produce something you won’t be proud of in the future. Try your best ALWAYS with what you have…
Why did I keep this image? I guess I want to keep it to remind me in the future of my laziness… I don’t want to make this mistake again!
Week 07 – Make a Statement
I love this picture because of the togetherness it represents for me. I’m from a beautiful country with, generally, beautiful people. However, I’m tired of the ‘racial tensions’ that are encouraged when it’s elections time in my country – this just separates friends. For me, following the current elections in my homeland, this picture made the most impact for me this week.
It’s a point and shoot in nature and the red-eyes are glaringly a problem but I choose not to focus on that. I choose to look at the happiness on the faces of my friends from Iran, Kenya, Russia, Sudan, Tanzania and the United States of America. I choose to focus on the ‘togetherness’ they show in this image and see hope for a better tomorrow…
2015 – Project 52 / 52Frames / A Picture a Week Challenge
Week 03 – Leading Lines
I never quite pay attention to all the ‘lines’ in my compositions… well not in detail. However, I realised this week that I do use them in my compositions, subconsciously. The way I process also holds to this as I would ensure my horizons are proper and I’ll crop based on lines in my composition.
Needless to say, this week wasn’t exactly a had one for me to use lines but to actually think of a theme was difficult as I wanted to really challenge myself. However, before I get into that, here’s the selected image for this week. This was taken on Makarsankranti, also known as Pongal. It is known as the harvest festival here and the locals (Indians) like to raise kites as part of the celebrations. I would also like to say that the kite in the last picture in the gallery for the week is the one I raised (with minimal wind) *feeling proud*.
Now… I’ll explain the three strongest conceptual ideas for this week as they concern “leading lines”.
Theme One – Sunset/Twilight: Some of the international students and I took a walk on one of the many nature trails on campus. This resulted in a wonderful afternoon of seeing lovely scenes and simply relaxing and connecting with mother nature, with smatterings of human made devices in the mix. Close to sunset, we were climbing some rocks (nothing too dangerous) when the monk showed me the beautiful scene of the setting sun being framed by the rocks. So, I tried to get as low as possible and use all of the ‘lines’ to help with the final shot. I don’t think I did a bad job at all! Then, as we exited the trail and started the climb uphill to our hostel, I saw the beautiful afternoon light being chased by a lovely night – twilight in all its glory. The way the trees, power lines, lights and even the road with sidewalk and divider framed the last bit of day light was simply lovey. Even the oncoming night seem to add to the final scene. Neither of these shots were planned before hand but the compositions, etc., were done on the spot. I was thinking of sunset shots but the surroundings made them happen when I least expected. In these instances, the lines were not the focus but how they helped with the overall composition in framing the subjects was the best part for me. I really liked both images but I felt they were missing something. Side note: I wish I had them both for week 2 – silhouettes *sighs*.
Theme Two – Guitar Strings: As I was walking through my hostel one night I heard one of the guys playing his guitar and immediately thought of the musical instrument and the lines there. Upon request he agreed to being my ‘model’ and this resulted in a night of fun, music and interesting compositions around the hostel. In this instance, the lines were the subjects of the compositions. However, as I started to shoot and move around to different locations some other elements came into the equation – like the rails and stairs. I think overall, this shoot went well as I learned a lot and upon processing I saw mistakes I’ll correct in the future. However, yet again, something was missing in my opinion.
Theme Three – kites and Pongal: I knew we would be seeing kites for Pongal and the possibilities of all the leading lines – the twine used to secure the kites, the hands holding the twine, eyes looking towards the kites – had me excited. I liked the possibility of action themed with the fun of kite flying. From the first photograph to the last one on this afternoon I knew I’d be using one of them for sure. I think I had some good ones but finally settled on that particular shot because of the blatant and subtle leading lines present; even though lines are prominent, the subjects were not the lines, they simply helped to drag the eyes in, but the kites and the people trying to raise them were the main elements.
All in all, it was good to refresh my mind on leading lines and remind me how important they are in compositions! Also, it’s good to note that all leading lines are not necessarily ‘physical’ in nature or even ‘straight’…
I come from a Hindu family, a very Hindu family that boasts of two pandits (priests) and numerous members who are very learned about the scriptures and traditions associated with Hinduism in Guyana. I would like to think I’m rather a strong person where my religion is concerned as I take part in different aspects of prayers associated with Hinduism.
Apart from be very familiar with the traidions, etc., I’m naturally curious about the whole aspect of Hinduism since it is more often than not considered to be ‘a way of life’. I love the colours and the vibrancy associated with this religion and the wide variety of different ways in which the events are observed and practised – the different activities used to focus on different aspects of God through different ways of making offerings.
As such, it was quite easy for me to select the event from which my image for Week Fourteen would come from. However, due to the wide array of different elements in the worship ceremonies, it was hard to narrow down my 600 images to just one. I finally selected this one because it sums up the season for me. This image shows a devotee pouring Durga dhar (a special offering comprising different grind elements being mixed in milk) into a tally (tray) with a cut lime and nutmeg that have been covered with sindoor (red powder used by married women in their head) and camfor (used to create fire) on top of the lime. All of these elements scream ‘Naav-raatri’ for me and it truly is a season I enjoy.
Some background to my image: Week Fourteen saw the beginning of the first ‘naav-raatri’ period for the year; this one leads to Raamnaavmi (birthday of Lord Ram). Naav-raatri is basically the worship onto God in the female form and spans three sub-periods where you focus on certain general aspects of Maa. The first three nights – workship with a focus on Durga Maa, the second three nights – workship with a focus on Latchmi Maa and the final two nights (this would be three nights for the naav-raatri period before Diwali later in the year) – worship with a focus on Saraswati Maa. The final day, the ninth day, is celebrated as Raamnaavmi.
Here are some more favourites from this week.
Looking up in the Shiva Mandir
Offering prasad to Lord Shiva
Clasped hands with flowers to offer
The altar in front of the mandir during meditation
Family at the sea-side
Final step – Raamnavmi offering at the seaside
Offerings made at the sea-side (all biodegradable)
A devotee relaxing after puja at the sea-side
Memories of special moments…a Quest of a lifetime…