Ethnic Portraits of Rajasthan
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I recently traveled to Rajasthan, India, to the city of Ajmer. While I was there I had the opportunity to go around to nearby villages and make portraits of village locals in their traditional attire.

With modernisation, most of the villages are now concrete jungles and people mostly wear regular western clothes - especially the younger generation. I wanted to portray the local people of Rajasthan in their traditional attire, which is both colourful and beautiful to look at.

 With this in mind I set out to document a few environmental portraits of people in their natural habitat.
About the pictures below:
I took these shots just as the sun had risen and the haze was still in the air. This gentleman was having his morning tea. We waited patiently for him to finish his tea and then requested him if we could take his picture, to which he agreed.
About the pictures below:
Seen in this picture is an old lady dressed in traditional attire and folk jewellery. The hay hut behind her is her house. The hay provides respite from the atmospheric elements. The bed or charpai (translates to four legs in Hindi) as it is called in the local language is where she rests, sits and sleeps. To the bottom right is the earthen oven that she uses to cook her food. The pot next to the bed is what she uses to cook her food in. The Hindi newspaper on her bedside suggests that she's literate and can read.
About the pictures below:
While going from village to village, we came across this farmer couple who gladly agreed to have their pictures taken. The couple had a lovely small hut with their livestock in the middle of their lush greed farm. They were really warm and welcoming and even offered us home made buttermilk, which was refreshing considering how hot it started to get as the sun went up.

The following two pictures are individual portraits of the farmer's wife and the farmer on their farm with their livestock.
About the picture below:
In Rajasthan and much of northern India, having a well groomed moustache reflects a high social status and respect for a man. The higher the man's moustache the better is his respect in society. Here's a farmer who happily chose to show off his moustache to us by twirling it up.

In the background is their farm, where irrigation is done by harvesting ground water run on electricity produced through solar panels.
The solar panels produce enough electricity to keep his house running and the farmer can easily sell excess electricity back to the electricity company.

About the picture below:
I was taking pictures of the Farmer we got talking, became quite friendly and he even invited his wife to pose with him. His wife holds a pot on top of her head, which is typically how ladies in villages of India carry potable water home from distant ground water borewells. In this case though they have their own well and she had filled it up with drinking water when we called her to step in for the photograph. 
About the picture below:
The farmer, his wife and their house. In the previous picture you saw a portrait of the farmer and his wife. In this shot I wanted to also capture the place where they live and their life. In the picture the husband sits on the handmade cot while his wife stands next to him with her pot of water. At the bottom right is a blue milk can which she uses when she milks the livestock at their home (swipe right to see a portrait of the farmer with his livestock) . Behind them is the mud house with a straw roof. The mud and straw keep the house cool in the simmering summer heat which can easily go upto 45 degree Celsius. Also seen in the picture is their pup that stays with them.
About the pictures below:
While we were traveling through the villages we came across this house which had its entry gate to the front yard open with the house occupants sitting on the front porch soaking in the Sun. We took a chance, walked up them and asked if we could take pictures. All of them got quite excited with the prospect of being photographed. So without losing any time, we quickly setup and started shooting portraits. I did a series of Individual portraits and a group portrait. 

Here's the first couple of portraits I made. In the first picture the writing on the wall next to the man says "Ram Ram Sa" in Hindi which translates to Welcome. In the 2nd picture the writing on the wall on the left to the man says "Padharo Sa" and translated, it means come in.
About the pictures below:
This is the second individual portrait I made at this location. This gentleman was the oldest of the lot and yet quite enthusiastic. The reason for their serious looks is to portray a sense of authority in the pictures. This is more a thing of their generation I guess. But I thoroughly enjoyed making these portraits!
About the pictures below:
This is the third individual portrait I made at this location. This gentleman has a small flour machine where he uses wheat produced from the farm to convert it to flour and sell in the village. This wheat is then used to make roti (Indian flat bread). In the picture below you can see his flour making machine, the weighing scale, weights and a water tank.
About the picture below:
This is the fourth portrait I made at this location. The old lady is pictured outside her house. She's holding a 'latth' as it's called in the local language which literally translates to stick. Women and Men of Rajasthan are traditional warriors and used to be quite skilled at physical warfare using swords or sticks. Nowadays the stick is used more for managing the livestock that they have. For this portrait the old lady wanted me to portray her as a warrior / protector of the weak and yet good at heart. A very difficult task at hand. I hope I was able to do justice to her request.
About the picture below:
Here is the final portrait that I made at this location. This is a group portrait of all the occupants of the house.
About the picture below:
A portrait of a musician in the desert.
About the pictures below:
While in the desert searching for interesting faces to photograph, we bumped across this family where this girl was selling a variety of ethnic dresses. We asked the girl and her family if I could take a picture and they agreed. The result was the following images.
About the picture below:
The hot desert heat didn't deter us from searching for interesting portraits. We met this musician whose face had a nice character, playing music. We asked him for a portrait and he happily agreed. While we were setting up and I was testing the lights he started playing his favourite tune.
About the picture below:
For those who are interested in how I made these portraits, here's a behind the scenes shot I made. This gives details of the equipment I used for this project.