Thank goodness this doesn't happen very often! I had just finished the entire blogpost when the internet crashed and I lost my work. Anyway, although not so inspired anymore, in this post I will give some extra information about the images that I'm using. Some are still in their old layout, but in the final submission you will see how I have put them all together.
We start with an image of a lovely little girl:
I took this one in one of the little caves where supposedly the Djinns live. The girl is actually posing for a friend, but I loved the innocent, open look on her face. She asked us if we could photograph her, wanting her image to be captured and remembered. Even though in this case not directed to Djinns, I do think her expressions are a good representation of how the people open themselves towards Djinns. Their longing to be listened to, looked at and recognised. I decided to photograph her from the side because I was inspired by an exercise in the book 'Train Your Gaze'. Based on the photography of .... (need to look this up), you are asked to photograph people meditating or contemplating, without showing the source of meditation.
I added this image because it is believed that the darker the place, the more djinns reside there. It was difficult to photograph this cave. It was really dark and I wanted to show the contour of the man praying, the candle lights and letters on the wall, without the getting too grainy. In postprocessing I was able to get have an acceptable amount of noise. I like how the candles and letters bring depth to the image.
This man didn't seem very unhappy at all, but I really like the threatening, scary feel that this image has, because of the contours of his leg, wooden leg and stick. Actually, we had a nice talk with the man, he has been coming to the City of Djinns for years and is believed to have special powers to communicate with them. He gives a lot of council to the visitors and was very kind to us as well.
Rumour has it that Djinns travel on the wings of these black birds and that it is very important to keep them well fed and happy. That's why these men are throwing chunks of meat to the birds. I couldn't capture all the birds in one image, so for my final image I have composited two. When seeing the birds, I immediately think of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds', which gives it a very creepy feel. I want the image to show the fear, creepiness and awe when I saw them.
This family was friendly enough to let us join their ceremony of lighting candles and hanging letters to the wall. The girl turned around and was very curious. At first she was smiling a lot, but turned more and more serious as the ceremony continued. I like how she looks as if she is guarding her family, what they are doing and what they believe.
Muslims are a minority in India and there is a growing tension between the Hindu and Muslim community. Even though the City of Djinns is a place where both come to worship and the boundaries of religions fade, in general threats towards the muslim community increase and the number of violent incidents have increased ever since Modi has come into power. For me, this image represents the fear that is starting to become more and more tangible in the Muslim community. I like how the faces of the mother and child are almost merged and how they both look in a different direction.
This photograph was quite hard to make, because the cave was really dark and I didn't want to disturb the prayers. I was able to remove most of the noise and lighen up the darker parts so that the letters and candles in the back are visible. I like how this creates more depth in the image. It is believed that the darker the cave, the more Djinns reside. This must have been a very busy one!
In this room a spiritual leader was performing all kinds of rituals, anointing people, mixing rose petals and rice and lighting candles while chanting prayers. Even though there were about ten people in the room, I chose to use this picture because of the expectant posture of the couple and the concentrated look on the leader's face. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to photograph him with his face completely visible. I should have stayed longer and waited till I got the image I wanted. But because my camera is quite a noisy clicker, I felt uncomfortable and didn't want to annoy them. Next time I will wait and photograph a bit more though!
When I see women completely covered, I sometimes find it difficult to not generalise them. I like how this image shows that although the women are dressed alike, they do have their own prayers, styles and needs. It's a bit difficult to see, but the people behind the bar are hindu, showing the diversity and openness of the City of Djinns. The caption with this image is 'experiences', because I want the viewer to look beyond their prejudices that they might have, or the inclination to see all of the women as the same and realize that they all go through different experiences in life and that those experiences bind us together.
This is one of the images I have inverted and manipulated in Photoshop. However, I wanted to show the original shapes and forms, because even though Djinns are invisible, it is the shape of the smoke that shows they are around. I have to say, we did see some weird, mysterious shapes!
An other one that I manipulated in Photoshop. The image shows the kind of shrines you will find in the City of Djinns. Letters, flower petals and a lot of oil lamps. I like how with the inversion of the image, the photos of the people on the letter have become much more obvious, raising questions about why they are all mentioned in the same letter and what is the story behind the fact that prayers are asked for them.
At first, I just wanted to take a picture from the gate and the little ribbons on them. These ribbons are put there as a sign or remembrance of prayers that have been answered. Every one of them represents a story that is unknown, but were important enough to be remembered. I like how the shadow on the wall adds to the mysterious atmosphere of the City of Djinns.
Overall, I think the images form a nice collection. In the next blog I will post the final work.