Monday, April 28, 2008

2 ladybugs living

2 ladybugs living. outside vikasnagar, uk.

love and health to all together...

Friday, April 25, 2008

sand straw sun spring

head for the hills... a bump to a valley to a hill...

dry straws for sleep... hot suns for weeks...

sand and spring, summer and life...

these are two images taken a week before the van gujjar spring migration...

this is a buffalo eye's view of the end of spring photography clinic- made by mustoo

frozen on a tree- made by maria...

love and health to all...

Monday, April 21, 2008

ayush's tie

yesterday i woke up in the foothills at one am and walked with a family to a river and arrived at our destination at eight am.

this morning i woke up at six am, took a bucket and as i was buying curd, was asked by my friend jaya, to tie her son ayush's tie for a school play. he is playing the part of bhagat singh.

so i thought and then i tied.

this is ayush, his costume and his tie.

love and health to all...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

cool ankles

my buddy munesh cooling his ankles in the asan river with the mighty himalayas rising from the plains...

love and health to all...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

five foto faces

faces behind the project lenses. five foto students from the gindikhatta basti, the kalwala khol and the sansara khol.

Neg Bibi.
Gulam Navi.

love and health to all...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

big ups!

big up to sansara khol! big up to kalwala khol!

this is today in the shivalik jungle.

love and health to all...

Monday, April 07, 2008

making angles on a round earth

A Big Thank You!! to all the Students who made the Kalwala and Sansara Photo Classes heaps of fun, educational and just pure loves!!

From top to bottom:

Gulam Rasool and Binyabeen Alfa capturing a single moment from different angles, sharp and precise!

Mustoo with a wonderful photo of a committed student. All the essentials in one arm!

Yasin Hosan Din photographing a friend enjoying the goodness of the forest!

love and health to all...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

snapping branches and photos in forest homes

Yesterday in the forest khol of Sansara, where the plains stop crawling and begin, one foot in front of the other, himalayan baby steps, Nazim Ji and I lugged 26 cameras and photography knowledge to a small little home with walls of mud and dung, a door made of air and a roof of branches, leaves and tree trunks. As the students sat around and Nazim and I explained the ins and outs of these black cameras, little birds kept flying in through the door and out via the space between the walls and the roof. These birds swooping in with little sticks and landing in the natural roof, were making a home similar to the one we were all in. Only round. I wonder... Perhaps a photography class for the birds next week...

love and health to all...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pradeep Dadar and his LP Collection

I first met Pradeep Dadar, in search of an audiocassette of the film "Sholay." This was one month ago at Music World, sort of like India's little HMV. That evening I got to talking with Pradeep about music. Our chatting turned into a dj session as he started pulling cd's off the shelves and playing some of his favorite tracks. As our heads began to bob, I asked Pradeep if he was married. Yes already, he replied, I'm married to music.

1992 was the last year that records were regularly manufactured in India. In 1996, one record/LP was made that entire year. It was the soundtrack to Shah Rukh Khan's movie, "Dil Tu Pagal Hai." ("Your Heart is Crazy.") In 2004, the soundtrack to the film "Veer Zaara" was released on LP in the UK as a special promotional copy. Pradeep bought this record via a friend in England. The album cost him 3500 rupees. One and a half month's salary. $87.50 in today's currency.

I spent this afternoon with Pradeep, his family and his LP collection. He has about 1000 records and even more audiocassettes that he gifts to friends.

"My mother loves music too," Pradeep told me, "But sometimes my family wonders why I waste money on records. My answer is, 'It is my life.' My two pillars in life are my girlfriend and music."

"What does your girlfriend think?" I asked.

"Never any comment. Actually, she likes it," he replied.

We spent the rest of the afternoon listening to records. Pradeep has a turntable hooked up to his computer. We spent the afternoon recording some songs from albums he had recently bought in Delhi, onto his computer. There he would play with the sound levels and remove scratches.

EMI records, CBS and the Gramaphone Company of India Limited, throughout the afternoon we listened to a variety of different albums from numerous eras. Even some 72s from the 1930s and 1940s that were pressed in England. We were interrupted by a wonderful lunch that Pradeep's mother cooked- Eggplant, Chana Masala and Puri. After lunch we headed back to the turntable, in fact a different turntable his brother made from spare parts.

Pradeep talked to me about his favorite musical director in Indian recording history, RD Burman. Pradeep has every RD Burman track ever produced, in all languages- Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi- you name it, Rd Burman produced it. Pradeep spends his evenings from 12-2am digitizing records. It's quiet then, he told me, all of India is sleeping. As he was telling me this Pradeep suddenly ducked beneath his desk and came up with a gem

"Oh listen to this man! No one has this in the world. Only here man, EMI records, they haven't made anything on cassette or CD. This is my favorite song of all time- "Aayega Mere Sapnonka Raja" (My Dream King Will Come). From the film 'Kaun? Kaisey?' Sung by Asha Bhosle, RD is the musical director. This is ultimate quality, man! Ultimate! Only here! Listen Brother, listen!"

a note on the side: this post is the beginning of a new tributary for ben's lenz. in the coming days, months, years and centuries the lens will start to profile wonderful, positive people, places, things, galaxies, flowers and clouds on this here spinning globe of diverse beauty, shapes, sizes, colors, songs and thunderstorms... keep on checking in...

love and health to all...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

where the water doesn't flow. but pumps.

Janub, a young 15 year old girl with a beautiful smile, took this photograph last week. That's her in the first photo from the last post, with the orange scarf.

Throughout the world people pump their water. No faucets. Sometimes no rivers either. But pumps, groundwater styles. In Gindikhatta, hand pumps like these are the only source of water and life.

Today, another photography clinic took place in the Kalwala Khol of the Shivalik Forest, Uttar Pradesh.

I like this photograph a lot.

love and health to all...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

power of a photo

A photograph is a fleeting minute in time. A second stopped. Part of a moment's memory.

Myself, along with my friends Nazim Ali and Puran Joshi, conducted a small photography clinic in the Van Gujjar Basti outside of Gindikhatta. We distributed 29 cameras to a diverse group of people in the community. The students roamed their homes and roads, forests and towns, snapping photographs for the first time. The smiles and surprises on all of our faces made everything worthwhile. The photos made reflect this beauty.

As I sit here with a candle lit and the electricity out, I am reminded of the power of a photograph.

Tomorrow I will venture into a nearby forest to continue the program with the Van Gujjar community that continues to live in the forests around Dehradun. In about a week's time this community will begin to migrate to the high himalayas.

love and health to all...