Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
This shot was taken in Calcutta in mid-October 2006. I was there during the string of Hindu religious festivals known as the Pujas, the time of year when the entire city wears a festive air.
The Puja season in Calcutta, as it is in any Indian city, is a time to look up. There are lights festooned across streets, there are lights draped across buildings, there are lights at every pandal, the Indian word for a temporary structure that is a place of devotion and celebration.
There are sounds, too, that identify the time as being typical of the season. There are the sounds of amplified music on every street corner, there are the sounds of fireworks as well. Calcutta is transformed not just by the spirit of worship, but by the spirit of festive commerce as well.
I shot this frame near a pandal, because of one simple factor. In the years when I was growing up in India, I never saw bells used as a decorative motif. These huge gold-orange bells were made of fabric, embedded with glittering mini-mirrors and fringed with tassles. I enjoyed framing this shot, especially because of the dark wood of the ancient tree, as well as the beautiful green of the leaves.
There was one other factor on my mind. I guess bells are more a Christian symbol, especially with their Christmas connotations. When I shot this, I was aware of the overhead wires, and I worked the frame so that the wires would cross the frame diagonally, in a way that they would not threaten the bells as the central point of focus.
But if you study the frame closely, you have to look really hard to see the wires. The beautiful colour tones of the bells, the tree trunk and the leafy canopy make such an interesting splash that they overshadowed the potential dilution caused by the wires.
(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)