Photographer's Note

All boat tours go past Manikarnika Ghat. It seems to be one of the main Varanasi attractions that range from colourful Ganga washing scenes to the gloomy mood of the burning ghats. Invariably, tourists get told that it’s forbidden to photograph cremations therefore… “they should be as quick and discreet as possible when taking shots”. Consequently, in practice, everyone takes photos of the fires and so did I.

The attitude to funerals differs, even among the very family members of the deceased. It’s no wonder that an accidental onlooker doesn’t feel the emotions appropriate to the occasion. But these cremations always make me sad anyway. They remind me not just about the transitory nature of my own existence but, most of all, make me wonder how many more times, before my own end, I’ll be standing there, looking at my loved ones being buried. And it’s on that note, that I photograph those scenes without feeling guilty of disrespect.

What do you think?

A few years ago, I posted a photo of cremation taking place in a Pashupathinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal:

The situation was a bit different then. I was not allowed to enter the temple at all at that time! But since I was accompanied by two Asian friends, no one seemed to mind that I was there and openly took photos using an SLR on a tripod. As if I had miraculously merged with my surroundings.

The quality of this photo is not perfect as the focus is on the buildings only at very wide aperture. I have written before about the difficulties of shooting from a boat early in the morning when the light is low. You constantly juggle high ISO, large aperture and high shutter speed while your boat keeps moving and shaking! I chose this image as the main upload because I like the two almost silhouetted guys visible in the smoke in the middle distance.

Two photos, taken at longer focal length, in WS.

pajaran, ChrisJ, holmertz, ikeharel, Fis2, jean113, COSTANTINO, PaulVDV ha contrassegnato questa nota come utile

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1692 W: 9 N: 3499] (17676)
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