24 June 2011

Reversing India's Turnaround

The back portrait aka "back shot" adds an additional perspective to the conventional front portrait, especially for street photography. The viewer of a front portrait looks at the subject from the outside, from the subject's dissociated point of view. The viewer of a back portrait looks at the world in an associated way, as if s/he is looking through the subject's eyes, into the subject's (...and the photographer's) visual world, and s/he is being seduced to play with the boundaries between internal and external expression. The vantage point from behind uncovers a long overlooked tradition of portraiture that flirts with the power of identification and mystery…

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, young Brahmins, Indian man, South India, Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, portrait, street portrait, double portrait
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, young Brahmins, Indian man, South India, Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, back portrait, portrait shot from behind, sikha
As much as the front can give away a person’s identity and characteristics, a photograph of one’s back adds an element of mystery by prompting more questions than answers. When that happens, even the most inconspicuous detail becomes worthy of observation in deciphering identity, circumstance and action.

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, groupshot, people, Indian women, South India, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, back portrait, street portrait, groupshot from behind, sari
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, groupshot, people, Indian women, South India, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, street portrait, sari
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, sadhu, Indian man, Ladakh, Leh, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, Ladakhi polo
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, sadhu, Indian man, Ladakh, Leh, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, back portrait, portrait shot from behind, Ladakhi polo









An image of a person from the back can be both mysterious and fascinating as one doesn't see the emotions from their faces and one can only assume what they are feeling, as the three back portraits above do attest...

19 June 2011

Ogling Old Ladakhi Women

Ladakh, Northern India, has a population of c. 260,000 which is a blend of many different ethnic groups, predominantly Tibetans, Monpas and Dards. A feature of the Tibetan-Buddhist segment of Ladakh's community is the high status and relative emancipation enjoyed by women compared to other rural parts of India. Fraternal polyandry and inheritance by primogeniture were common in Ladakh until the early 1940s CE when these were made illegal by the Indian government. However, the practice remained in existence into the 1990s especially among the elderly and the more isolated rural populations.

people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Spangmik, Pangong Lake, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald







15 June 2011

Pacing Ladakhi Monks

Tibetan Buddhism is the main religion in Ladakh and is followed by the majority of the population; Tibetan is the spiritual language of Ladakh. Irrespective of the rugged terrain and remote inaccessible areas of Ladakh, lamas and monks passed through them and built monasteries aka gompas all over the place. There are innumerable monasteries in Ladakh, some in ruins while others are still in inhabited, running as educational and religious centres. Monasteries have for long held an important position in Ladakh. Families used to send their youngest son/s to a monastery to live and to study, knowing that the local community took care of the monks and provided food. In return the monks took care of weddings, funerals and other important ceremonies and rituals. The tradition of sending a son to a monastery also helped to control population growth. Ladakh is one of the main centres of Tibetan Buddhism outside Tibet, and is sometimes called Little Tibet.

people, street portrait, headshot, old Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, headshot, old Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, triple portrait, old Tibetan Buddhist monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Tiekse Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, triple portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, double portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, double portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Tiekse Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, bubble gum, bubbles
people, street portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist nun, Tibetan Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist nunnery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, headshot, girl nun, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald






12 June 2011

Donning the Ladakhi Goncha

The Ladakhi goncha, a voluminous robe of thick woollen cloth with a colourful cummerbund tied at the waist, is the most common dress in Ladakh, Northern India; loose pyjamas, a distinctive top hat and long felt boots complete the ensemble. It is very effective to protect the people from the harsh and extreme cold weather of this region which belongs to the Himalayas. For ceremonial purposes, colourful robes in silk and brocade are worn.

people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, triple portrait, groupshot, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, traditional Ladakhi hats, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, back portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, goncha, traditional Ladakhi hats, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headshot
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, silk costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald




Street portrait photographs of Ladakhi people in traditional costumes in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2011-06c Chasing Ladakhi Traditions

Weighing the Ladakhi Perak

The perak is the heavy headdress typically worn by the old aristocracy in the Himalayan Ladakh region of India. It is composed of black lamb skin and a strap of leather studded with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise, covering the head like a cobra's hood and tapering to a thin tail reaching down the back. The perak is a symbol among the Ladakhis of the rank and economic status of the woman wearing it. Traditionally, the number of front-to-back rows of turquoise signifies the status of the wearer.

people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald


























Street portraits of Ladakhi people in their traditional costumes in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2011-06c Chasing Ladakhi Traditions 
Street portraits of Gurung women with smaller turquoise stone crowns in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2016-05a Circling the Mighty Annapurnas

02 June 2011

Trifling with Serious Kashmir

Kashmir is located in the northwestern region of South Asia and includes the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. The origin of the Kashmiri people is shrouded in mystery; there are various theories that have been put forward in this regard. According to one of the theories, the initial settlers in Kashmir were Aryans who migrated from Central Asia. These people were a long headed race of tall structure with narrow noses and fair complexion. Another theory of the Kashmiri descent posts that the Kashmiri people of India and Pakistan originally descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel.

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, double portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim men
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, double portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim men
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, grey beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, close up, groupshot, street portrait; Northern India; Kashmir; Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men; beard; turban; triple portrait; Muslim people;
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, close up, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmiri woman, face-veiling burqa, black silk burqa, Muslim people