Monday, June 23, 2008

Bell Hop

I Must Have Got My Wires Crossed

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.)

17 comments:

CrazyCath said...

Now doesn't that make us think of the concept of "odd" - and what is "odd" in one culture, is perfectly ordinary in another?
It is a great shot and beautifully done so as not to be compromised by the wires. The Hindus certainly know how to do a colourful festival.

I simply cannot keep up with you mate! I blame time zones and your energy. I don't know how you manage to keep it up. My critters post is up and the odd shot is scheduled to post in just under 4 hours. Pop in and see...

polona said...

clever shot although it doesn't seem so at first sight... everything fits
interesting shape of that tree trunk

womaninawindow said...

And yet those wires are there. It's surprising to me how many shots have to make way to accomodate wires. What's that say?

San said...

When you do look closely, however, the little grids formed by the wires echo the grids on the surfaces of the bells. Subtle complexity.

imac said...

Odd indeed - when you look close David.

You should visit Gailsman blog, as we met also met Zakscloset at my birthday bash, Gailsman link is on my blog about my party, he has a pic of us 3.

sandy said...

I was just saying to myself today - Self - take more impromptu pictures through things . I grew up in an era of the shot must be so so - not true.sk

Katney said...

If this shows up twice I apologize.

The workmanship of the bells looks very much like other things Indian--but bells? You are right, I don't remember bells in India, though I was only there a month. It did, however, seem like there was always a festival going on somewhere.

My Odd Shot is prescheduled, and may surprise even me when it posts at midnight as I forget what it is.

Now, I hope thia does not disppear into cyberspace.

Hilary said...

Quelles belles bells!!

;)

MamaGeek said...

Your so called ODD shots are oh so clever David (as well as that witty verse I might add). You have quite the EYE!

Maggie May said...

Beautiful shot, wires or no wires! I have messed up shots by not noticing wires until it is too late! However yours look like they are meant to be there and are toned down somehow. You must be exhausted by all that you do! Can't imagine you resting somehow!

babooshka said...

I had never had bells bit was the clincher for this one. Crazycath is right that "odd" can be sujective regarding cultureInteresting read again and always alesson learnt.

Daryl said...

I like the way the wires form a sort of overhead grid ... and the contrast of the bells and their bling ... pretty ...

Mine is rather boring, hard to believe I was stumped for something odd to post ...

:-Daryl

marcia said...

getting our wires crossed sometimes makes it able for the interesting things to appear

Mima said...

For me I love the stories that you post with your pictures, sharing parts of culture and life that I haven't had the chance to experience. India sounds like such a wonderful place to explore.

Kimberly said...

This shot is so perfectly framed, David. And there's something about the vibrance of the bells that makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

Bells are an integral part of any puja in India. They're a part of the positive vibrations that help to create the aura of the ceremonies. My mother in-law would perform "arathi" every evening just after sunset, and she'd ring the bell with one hand while she'd use the other hand for the horse-tail brush to shoo away the mosquitoes, then the hand-fan to cool down the air, the "dhoop", (burning incense) to perfume the air, the conch filled with "shanti jaal", a mixture of sandalwood and "Ganga jaal" ( water from the Ganges) to sanctify the atmosphere, and so on and so forth. But it's great to see that you always remember to post something like this during the Pujas. We do have the same celebrations here in Toronto and sometimes it gets so crowded that one feels one's back in Kolkata.

Rene.

sex said...
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