I’ve just photographed and written another piece on Delhi street food and as I was walking through Chawri Bazaar yesterday I spotted a chai wallah plying his trade. On the wall next to the stall he’d hung some of his teacup frames. It looked so odd that I made a picture.
I wonder how many cups of tea these holders have held over the years?
I have just finished a lovely four day travel assignment in one of India’s most tourist-heavy cities, Jaipur. Ironically I was tasked to write and photograph about the quiet spots, the quirky and the unusual and I’m pleased to say that there were many. I stayed an extra day and a half in order to edit and write the piece and on the last afternoon, took myself out to shoot on the streets. I always used to do this kind of work on Leica’s and tranny. That process was very freeing but I find it incredibly difficult these days to shoot this kind of work on DSLR’s. Perhaps it’s just me but one looks so much like a photographer that the process becomes a cliche: two big heavy cameras with two big heavy prime lenses. A long way from the classic rangefinder. It is more than that however – purely in terms of seeing, those little cameras allowed you to examine spatial relationships through the viewfinder. You could pre-focus and just walk into the picture. I feel very removed when I try to do these kind of things with my current kit. There’s a sort of rhythm that works on the street and it’s really difficult to do with such a big, noisy machine pressed to your face. I have, over the years in India gone back to my M6 rangefinders as it’s still relatively cheap and easy to process film here. However, then you have the laborious task of scanning – a process which, after spending the best part of two years feeding my archive (in the form of little plastic squares) through various machines, I’d rather die than attempt again. The irony is of course that I used to be sponsored by Leica (and Kodak for that matter) but who, apart from dentists (meaning rich hobbyists) as Simon Norfolk said a few years ago can afford a couple of M9’s? Or perhaps I’m just not working hard enough…
I’m delighted to see another of my pieces running in this month’s excellent Effilee Magazine. It’s a story I shot and wrote for them a couple of months ago called The Englishman and the Eel. It deals with the traditional London food (which is not fish and chips) of eels, pie and mash.
The piece attempts to look at (amongst other things) the significance and the decline of the eel and its fading from the changing London consciousness. For the story I photographed those palaces of Cockney culture, the Pie and Mash shops.
I will post the 5500 word piece on my website in the near future.