I am taking a break from Arangetram Photography for the rest of 2014 as I am traveling in India. If you would like to contact me for any assignments please send me an email. My US cell phone has been temporarily suspended. Thanks!
I have been itching to do a portrait series for quite some time but always hesitated, never felt portraits were my forte. This project was a way to put my doubts to rest and try my hand at this genre.
I have always been fascinated by Holi, the hindu festival of colors. As a child we used to enjoy by participating in the festival, in the recent few years I have enjoyed photographing and documenting this festival in Dallas. The fascination of colors have now permeated into mainstream culture with the advent of “Run or Dye” which is a colorful run event hosted in major US cities.
Faces are the very first impression we get of anyone. Busy with the intricacies of life they often display the serious look. It does not matter which culture, creed, community or country you belonged, it is quite universal. “Holi”, the Hindu festival of colors which symbolizes new beginning, change of season, good over evil epitomizes heartfelt joy and happiness. “HOLI – The Diptych Project” is a visual juxtaposition of these diverse explorations through the lens of Holi. It demonstrates that regardless of race, nationality, gender or culture we get transformed into this new avatar with Holi colors.
Here are a few shots from this project, the entire project has 15 diptychs and 55 photographs and is available as a Blurb book, see below for details. The Bio’s were written by the people who were photographed for this project, they come from Afghanistan, Belgium, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, and USA.
This was my first destination Arangetram that I shot in Austin and I was so looking forward. I knew the family from a while, so I was excited but mainly because Purna is such a good dancer.
Purna Bajekal daughter of Anuradha Naimpally who is also her Guru, has been learning the art of Bharata Natyam dance from age 6. She has steered her own progress and developed a passion for dance and made the decision to do her arangetram on her own. Most girls I photograph are in a hurry to get their Arangetram done at an early age(around 15) before heading to college. But Purna is among a select few who decided to wait when she thought she was fully ready and give full justice to her Arangetram.
Last summer Purna had the privilege to learn two of her Arangetram pieces from Anuradha’s guru, Pt VJ Pillai in Mumbai. Its rare to get that opportunity to learn from a Guru’s guru. Her mother feels she represents a distinctive Tanjavur style of Bharata Natyam and is very proud of Purna to have developed most of it through self discovery. Its rare for a mother and daughter to collaborate, but they have had opportunities to perform together in Canada, Kansas, Pondicherry, Toronto, and quite a bit in Austin.
She is also good at other dance forms like ballet, pointe, tap and performs regularly with junior dance companies.
Purna performed her Bharata Natyam Arangetram at the beautiful St. Michael’s Gloria Delgado Theater in Austin, Texas on July 28th, 2012. It was a packed audience with guests and extended family coming as far away from India and Canada.
Here are some of the glimpses from Purna’s Arangetram