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Cultural Visions Part Seven: India Time

June 9, 2017

01cricket

Cricket, Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India, 1999 (All photos by Frank Ward)

I first traveled to India in 1973 as part of Research Group Triangle. Three of us proposed a yearlong expedition to photograph paranormal activities in India and Nepal. The trip was supported by IAA Anstalt, a Swiss-based philanthropy headed by a charismatic and mysterious Italian. He had recently published the Open Index, a catalog of paranormal behavior in India. That first edition mostly contained addresses of yoga ashrams and organizations related to occult studies.

In 1973, as an inexperienced youth of 24, even cricket seemed unusual enough to appear “paranormal”. I finally had the opportunity to play cricket in 1999. It still feels like an activity outside of the normal.

02BanaresTreeSM

Varanasi, India, 1973

03yakshigana

Dance Studio, Karnataka, India, 1999

Once I traveled to India, my life changed. I met my future wife, Vivian, in Geneva, Switzerland when we returned and exhibited our pictures. Five years later, Vivian and I were off to Asia for a yearlong honeymoon.

elephantindia

Elephant bathing, Karnataka, India, 1999

On the 1999 trip, our Rotary Foundation group received a privileged view of South India. We lived in Rotarian’s homes throughout Karnataka State and photographed where they worked and volunteered. One morning, we administered polio vaccines to children, dedicated a Rotary donated public toilet, and had lunch at a school for the blind. Later in the day, we were special guests at a brewery and had dinner at a festival. My love of Indian food was nurtured by having 4 or 5 meals a day for a month.

blindboys

Blind Dancers, Swami Vivikananda School for the Blind, Karnataka, India, 1999

05FerrisWheel

Carnival, Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India, 1999

The Ferris wheel above was powered by a man who continually climbed to turn the wheel round and round.

06tilefactory (1)

Tile Factory, Mangalore, India, 1999

07blackboard

School teacher, Karnataka, India, 1999

08jainfeetb-w

At the feet of Gomateshwara, the 58 foot tall monolithic Jain statue from the 10th century AD, Hassan, India, 1999

09ajanta

The author sitting at the feet of the Teaching Buddha in Cave #10, sculpture circa 700 CE, Ellora, India, 1978

logo_1500px-Horizontal-Blesener

I want to pass this on from SocialDocumentary.Net . Our most recent Call for Entries has a June 30th deadline.  Click this link to get all the info: Www.socialdocumentary.net/competition.php  Sarah Blesener, who is our most recent winner, is doing work very close to my interests–Nationalism in Russia. Her pictures are in the latest ZEKE Magazine www.zekemagazine.com . Not only did she win SDN’s $1000 prize, she won an additional $50,000 from the Alexia Foundation and the Catchlight Fellowship. That Call for Entries certainly provided some auspicious seed money. I’ll add one of my Russia pictures to this promotion in hopes that Sarah’s good fortune might rub off on me. Give your pictures a chance, too. You can’t get known without being shown.

4Soldiers

Four Soldiers, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2008

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2017 5:18 am

    I like these. Especially the ones in the intimate spaces of the dance studio, the schools, and the factory. Making a factory intimate! Impressive.

    I also like imagining you setting the timer on the self-portrait and then running like a lunatic to get down to the Buddha’s feet and strike up a meditation position. I suspect that isn’t how it happened, but it’s a funny mental image!

  2. June 11, 2017 10:06 pm

    Actually, Vivian took that picture. I handed her the camera and then went down into the cave to pose for the picture.

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