Yesterday (and Saturday) I went to the 3rd I 3rd International South Asian Film Fesitval
. Saturday was Bollywood extravaganza night with Paheli
(how could I resist with a rhyme like that?) but yesterday was documentary night with City of Photos
, about portrait studios in India. Unfortunately I missed the beginning, but it was one of those funny, moving documentaries which made me wish all such were released on DVD as a matter of course.
At one point we see a young woman in a narrow sitting room with stacks of albums, showing off photos. She keeps saying how she really, really likes getting her photo taken, and gosh she has a lot of them. There's a photo of her and half a dozen other friends, dressed in colorful salwar suits
, all standing single file in narrow, narrow dark wooden boat on the beach, hands outstretched like wings. She shows it off proudly: "This is the pose from Titanic." Then she's arranged, artistically in a white sari, on some rocks in a pond. Another pose, from a Bollywood movie. Then her with Hrithik Roshan
. She cut out actress Amisha's face, and ruined many of her own photos to get herself in the picture. (Just imagine this woman armed with Photoshop!) Her friends tease her that she doesn't like Amisha, but no, she wants to be closer to Hrithik. She confides in the camera--her husband doesn't know about this one. If he did, he'd tear up the albums. Only her friends know. "And now, you all." Then we see her mother, who also has stacks of albums, and says she took the children for portraits every time they got new clothes. At weddings, she says, "I'm always in front of the video camera." She says her brothers give her a hard time because they say photography is a sin,
"I tell them, you'll sleep in your grave, and I'll sleep in mine."
She explains to the interviewer, "In our Islam, photography is considered a sin."
The interviewer, who has encountered this attitude previously in the film, asks, "Oh, you don't think it is?" Oh no, the woman replies, she knows it is, but it makes her so happy she does it anyway. Besides, with so much sin in the world, how will a little photography matter?
Speaking of photography, it's been a long time since I linked to Sam Javanrouh's work at Daily Dose of Imagery, but hopefully you all check it regularly anyway. Some recent gems: Pillowfight
(and on flickr
) makes me want to move to Toronto; cyclist friendly area in England
, a lacy window in the Divinity School at Oxford
, and pumpkin fields
. He's got another flickr slideshow of reflections here
My friend Alexandra
has some pictures from Paris, and previously, from spending time with the Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Niger. You'll have to scroll though as she doesn't have permalinks, but it's worth it.
And Nicolas caught yesterdays beautiful sunset over the bay