Saturday, January 05, 2008

Vegetable Artwork

24-Carrot Value From India's Highway Vendors


Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


With this week's theme being "delicious" I considered several submissions before finally settling on these two shots. Why? Simply because they are so unusual. They were taken a couple of weeks ago in India, during an eight-hour road trip from Dehra Dun to New Delhi. We must have passed half a dozen roadside vegetable vendors and I was struck by the artistic and creative manner in which they displayed their wares.

I was also intrigued by the bright red colour of the carrots, whereas I always remember the carrots of my own Indian childhood being orange. Then I was told that the winter crop, especially in north India, always produces carrots that are a deep red.

The picture above was taken a few kilometres after we passed through the town of Roorkee and at this point I'd like you to take a crucial element into account. Because we were on a tight schedule and I had a flight to catch, we could not stop every time I saw a photo opportunity. There were hundreds of times I would gladly have stopped to compose a shot, but instead I had to simply wind down the window of our four-wheel drive and try and fire off a shot while the vehicle was moving at speeds of sixty kilometres an hour or more.

This photograph (below) shows a second highway vendor several kilometres away from the first one and at this stage I'd like to point out a few interesting facts, if you haven't already noticed them. In the first shot, you can see the ubiquitous black bicycle that is such a part of rural India (you can see the seat and part of the wheel on the left). And you'll notice that wonderful, mellow Indian winter haze in the background. Then look in the background and you'll see a set of stairs. They are actually "stairs to nowhere" because it looks like the builder has abandoned the project. All in all, some nice poetic elements for a really unusual photograph.

Finally, if you haven't noticed it already, take a close look at the wheels of the vegetable vendor's cart in the photograph below. The metal frame of each wheel is severely warped, leaving each one bent at impossible angles. Not a single wheel points in the same direction or is at the same angle as any of the others. In India, these things are not a problem. Wonky wheels are not an issue, but fresh vegetables certainly are. I guess this is an "a la cart" menu at its best.

48 comments:

jennwa said...

That is a very interesting display of food. Great pic. Have a great weekend.

San said...

You say when you took this shot, you immediately thought of me. Was it the wonky wheels or the stairs leading to nowhere?

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Red carrots is not something I'm familiar with... it's like a work of art the way they display vegetables... very nice!
Rocky Mountain Retreat

david mcmahon said...

Hi Jennwa,

Thank you - I'll have to try and match the creativity of it the next time I display a salad!

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi San,

You always make me smile. No, I thought of you simply because of the artistic factor!!!

But I guess we all have wonky wheels and we all climb stairs that lead to nowhere - at some stage in our lives!

Say hi to Bennie for me.

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Michele,

I thought maybe they'd been coated with something for the purposes of the display. It was a red alert!!!

Cheers

David

Rebecca said...

That's delicious AND beautiful!

Autumn said...

Wow, those are beautiful. Great shots!

Nap Warden said...

Cool shot David...they always are;) I hope you are feeling better...

Sniz said...

Great pictures, neat observations. I wonder if red carrots taste the same as orange ones.

Mike Goad said...

Interesting pictures. Nice composition. Have a great weekend!

Mine's up. It's titled Can you do the splits?

Janice Thomson said...

These are wonderful shots David and indeed the food is quite artistically displayed.
Do the red carrots have the same flavor as the orange? Love your caption as usual.

Mark said...

Interesting pictures from what looks like an interesting place.I wonder how long it took to push the carts to their locations with those wheels?

Lee said...

Great shot showing interesting local color, David. Where I grew up used to be famous for "winter vegetables". Do you know if the color or season affects the taste?

Peace!

Carver said...

Those are beautiful photographs of beautiful food which I bet is quite delicious. Hope you have a pleasant weekend.

JesieBlogJourney said...

Fresh, healthy and delicious stuff.

Come over to my delicious hunt and enjoy.

Joyismygoal said...

I love this post and the appreciation you have for their work. I will be back\My brother is going to India by himself next month I think he is looking for something do you think he will find it?

T.R. said...

Send some here...our vegetables are miserable. We could spice the place up with a few red carrots! My delicious is crunchy but not a vegetable.

JunieRose2005 said...

David,

A very interesting post and pictures! I enjoyed seeing and reading this!


Junie

napaboaniya said...

Very creative of them to display their fresh greens :)It's not a Weekend;It's a Lifestyle

Melissa said...

Really interesting way to display vegetables, and those wheels are something else!

Seamus said...

WOW! presentation is everything, eh?

imac said...

As yours is healthy, mine is just the opposite David.

Ornery's Wife said...

Until this week I was unaware that carrots came in any color except orange. I found a bag of yellow carrots, more like a creamy color, at the store, and here you show some red ones. Next thing you know they'll be purple ones! These were great photos, and amazing that you got them through the moving car window!
TM

Anna said...

What a pretty way to display the produce. Do red carrots have more beta carotene than the orange kind?

YellowRose said...

Very interesting displays of veggies! Matter of fact, great shots, for on the fly shooting!! Some on my best shots have been on the fly. I love the surprises that they bring too, you never know what shows up!!

Happy Weekend!

Yen said...

Very interesting food and amazing shots too:) My deliciousness pics are up as well;-) Happy Weekend!

eastcoastlife said...

Red carrots! I didn't believe it and had to take a closer look at your photos before accepting it. They look like chillies at first. :) I wonder how they taste.

The trip to India must have been awesome. I envy you.

Expat Traveler said...

wow - they are unusual. They look more like art of clay than the real thing. Must have been fun to see and photograph!

Randi said...

Very artistic! Love it!

Gattina said...

Real special pictures and the wheels are so funny, lol !

kate said...

I wondered if I was hallucinating and imagining that the carrots were really red. It was a relief to read that they were red.

The veggie displays are beautiful - I'd love finding vendors like this alongside my travelled streets.

My bicycle bears some similarity to the bicycle photographed here.

Corey~living and loving said...

Great choice David. So unique and beautiful.

hope you are doing better.

my delish-ious...is up. :)

Casdok said...

So colourful! And looks so tasty!

lynn said...

.....Yeah....yawn.. good photos..but when you mention carats, i'm thinking DIAMONDS DARLING. THEN you'd be talking...!

Ancilla said...

hey, nice to found this blog.

and yes, i agree with all of the people here...
it was a nice shot. did you observe how long the seller must spent on doing that?

Heather said...

Lovely shot.

Nessa said...

Those vegetables are displayed like mosaics.

NYCindividual said...

mInteresting. I've never seen white carrots, or red carrots before!

2cents said...

the colors look so delicious to me...tahnks for sharing,

Mine is up at 4SeasonsOfmylife and
2Cents Worth . Hope you can visit me too. Happy Hunting.

D... said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really adore these shots, especially the wonky wheels with the gorgeous display of red carrots. Great pics!

gs said...

when you drive from dum dum airport to the city,you see village folks selling their vegetable produce literally fresh off the
ground.spinach,cabbage,cauliflower and other green vegetables are plucked and sold.and they too display their products in an artistic manner.one can't think of fresher vegetables than these and particularly during this time of the year.

Chica said...

You put alot of work into that post, makes me want to try harder next time hehe. Great pics. :)

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That's a great take on Delicious theme! Have a great weekend!

i beati said...

wonderful post . I see there are many shades of carrots . I live such a sheltered life ha . Wonder about the taste??Jamie Oliver says they are all good for you some shades moreso than others. thanks David

Ewa said...

what a great composition is this :) and delicious :) and healthy :)
Thank you for sharing.
Greetings from Poland,
Ewa

Amrita said...

The photos and write-up makes me smile.
Such sights are so common to us that we hardly notice them.
Thank you David for for making them stand out.
Happy New Year.

b2 said...

Thanks, David, for your words and photos. I enjoy them tremendously, having found your blog through my dear friend San's. Your thoughtful India photos have helped make the anticipation of my own upcoming trip to SE India even more pleasurable.