Photography workshops in Varanasi in October 2014


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Two week-long travel and street photography workshops in Varanasi with Maciej Dakowicz in October 2014.

Participants

The first workshop:
Alison Adcock – https://www.flickr.com/photos/alisonadcock/
Alfred Pleyer – https://www.flickr.com/photos/niklens/
Thanasan Sricham (Mr Ping) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/thanasansricham/
Nakarin Teerapenun – https://www.flickr.com/photos/teerapenun/

The second workshop:
Tom Hopkins – https://www.flickr.com/photos/core-photography/
John Hodgson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/108618410@N03/
Arja Litmanen – https://www.flickr.com/photos/arjalitmanen/
Tom Storr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomstorr/
 
 
UPDATE: The next Varanasi workshop will be in February 2015. Details: http://www.maciejdakowicz.com/workshops/travel-street-photography-workshop-varanasi-india-maha-shivaratri-festival-february-2015-asia/
 
 

Workshop Reports

First Workshop

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Our group in Alison’s hotel room during one of the four slideshow presentations about practical aspects of street photography.

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Our morning ritual – fantastic breakfast at Shiva Cafe at 8:30am. A well deserved treat after 2 hours of morning shooting. Then back to the streets to shoot until lunch break.

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Nakarin shoots a massage scene at the main ghat in Varanasi on the evening before the official start of the workshop. Very close. That was Nakarin’s third workshop with me. He is a mature photographer with a distinctive style now. It is always a pleasure to have Nakarin at the workshop. I keep on telling him that he doesn’t need any workshops anymore but he keeps on returning.

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Alison with a cow licking her own nose near the main ghat in Varanasi on the first day of the workshop. It was Alison’s first visit to India. All is new and exciting!

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Alfred with a group of children near one of the northern ghats of Varanasi on the second day of the workshop. It was Alfred’s third workshop with me and to be honest he does not need any workshops anymore, just like Nakarin. And he knows that too, but still wanted to come to shoot with us. I keep on telling him that simple is good but he always wants to have 10 people in his photos! A great photographer and dear friend.

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Another busy evening after a busy day of shooting – discussing Alison’s photos on the fifth day of the workshop.

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Ping photographs in a small barber shop in the lanes of the Old City of Varanasi. It was Ping’s first workshop with me and his first visit to India. He did very well.

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Alfred and a very popular Photo Baba. 10 Rupees for a photo!

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Maciej and two kids grabbing his hand for some reason. Just like that. Photo by alison.

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An evening photo critique session at our hotel’s outdoor restaurant’s terrace on the sixth day of the workshop. Here we are discussing Nakarin’s photos taken earlier on that day.

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Nakarin, Ping and a sleeping dog of course!

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One of the best moments of the day – a well deserved round of beers. Tasting so well after a long day of work. Cheers!

Second Workshop

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A slideshow presentation time in Tom’s hotel room during the lunch break time on the second day of the workshop. On the first four days of the workshop I presented four different powerpoint presentations discussing various practical aspects of street photography.

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Arja shares photos with pilgrims from South India in a small restaurant in the lanes of the Old City of Varanasi on the third day of the workshop.

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John brings smiles to the faces of pilgrims from South India at Kedar Ghat on the third day of the workshop.

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Tom photographs South Indian pilgrims performing religious rituals at Kedar Ghat on the fourth day of the workshop. Very close.

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Tom in a conversation with one of the pilgrims at Raja Ghat on the fifth day of the workshop. Getting close to people and practising social skills was on of the main aims of the workshop.

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John photographs a barber with a customer near the main ghat.

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Arja photographs pilgrims from South India in the lanes of the Old City.

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Tom surrounded by the pilgrims near the Ganges.

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Tom photographs a sleeping man from a strategic vantage point at Kedar Ghat. We were always looking for unusual angles and compositions.

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An evening ritual – editing images at the terrace of our hotel. Later there was a photo critique session – discussing selected photos.

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An evening photo critique session at our hotel restaurant’s outdoor terrace. Every day we discussed our freshly taken photos.

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Crossing the Ganges from the main ghat to the other mysterious sandy side on the sixth day of the workshop.


 
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Magic Moments! By Alison and Nakarin.


 
 

Student Photos from the Workshop

 

Alison Adcock

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alisonadcock/

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Alfred Pleyer

https://www.flickr.com/photos/niklens/

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Thanasan Sricham (Mr Ping)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thanasansricham/

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Nakarin Teerapenun

https://www.flickr.com/photos/teerapenun/

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Tom Hopkins

https://www.flickr.com/photos/core-photography/

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John Hodgson

https://www.flickr.com/photos/108618410@N03/

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Arja Litmanen

https://www.flickr.com/photos/arjalitmanen/

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Tom Storr

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomstorr/

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Workshop Information

Location

Varanasi, India.

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A view of the Old City of Varanasi from Google Maps. One of the world’s oldest cities. It is a truly fascinating place, perfect for exploring for hours. And now, while exploring India thanks to an Indian SIM card, the GPS and Google Maps you are never lost. Click to explore Varanasi in GOOGLE MAPS.

Dates

The first workshop: 20 October 2014 – 26 October 2014. Diwali week.
The second workshop: 27 October 2014 – 2 November 2014. Chhath Puja week.

Workshop Information

Varanasi

Wikipedia says that “Varanasi, also Benares, Banaras or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) in Uttar Pradesh. It is holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation.It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India. Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. Varanasi is often referred to as “the city of temples”, “the holy city of India”, “the religious capital of India”, “the city of lights”, “the city of learning”, and “the oldest living city on earth.”

and Lonely Planet says: “Few places in India are as colourful, charismatic or spiritual as the bathing ghats lining the Ganges in Varanasi. The city of Shiva is one of the holiest places in India, where Hindu pilgrims come to wash away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges or to cremate their loved ones. Varanasi, previously named Benares and Kashi (City of Light) – it was renamed after the Varuna and Asi Rivers, which meet here – has always been an auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). The city is the beating heart of the Hindu universe, a crossing place between the physical and spiritual worlds, and the Ganges is viewed as a river of salvation, an everlasting symbol of hope to past, present and future generations. The magical but sometimes overwhelming city is where the most intimate rituals of life and death take place in public on the city’s ghats. The accessibility to the practices of an ancient but still living religious tradition is what captivates many visitors, and a walk along the ghats or a boat ride on the river is one of India’s most absorbing experiences.”

Exciting, isn’t it? There is so much to shoot there! Varanasi is one of Maciej’s favourite Indian cities. He has spent a considerable amount of time shooting there and will share his local knowledge and photography experience with the workshop participants.

Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two before starting the workshop to become accustomed to the Indian climate and environment. The weather in October is comfortable, but please don’t forget a sun lotion and good hat. We will shoot in the mornings and afternoons/evenings, spending the mid-day hours on editing and learning photography.

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Morning activities at one of the central ghats on the bank of the Ganges in Varanasi on the main day of Diwali in November 2012. Busy!

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Always crowded Kedar Ghat, a favourite ghat of South Indian pilgrims.

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Varanasi’s majestic architecture seen from a boat. A relaxing boat ride along the Ganges ghats is hight on the list of things to do in India.

Workshop Description:

It will be a very practical workshop and there will be a lot of shooting every day. A very small group of 4 participants means a very high level of interaction with Maciej. You will be working in pairs changing “partners” after the lunch break or shooting on your own. While shooting with Maciej you will have a chance to observe him at work, learn his techniques and tricks. Maciej is a very experienced travel and street photographer and you will learn a great deal of new things. A special attention will be put on developing and practising “social skills” – an interaction with local people. You will not only hunt for decisive moments like Henri Cartier-Bresson but also get close to people, talk and photograph them. In the evening you will edit and discuss your photos in the group together with Maciej. There will be plenty of opportunities to talk photography too. There will be presentations on several nights of the workshop in which theoretical and practical aspects of street photography will be outlined and discussed.
It will be a very memorable adventure that will change you not only as a photographer, but as a person too.

Costs

The participants of the workshop are responsible for all travel costs, including the visa, air tickets, food, accommodation and local transport. Luckily India is still a very affordable place to be and total weekly travel spendings are usually around £150. The group will stay in affordable and comfortable hotel and a single room price will be around £20 per person.

Maciej’s photos from Varanasi shot on the previous photography workshops (each taken while shooting with a workshop participant):

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Morning exercising on the bank of Ganges river in Varanasi, Indi thumbnail
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Morning Exercises- Varanasi, India. thumbnail
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Morning exercising on the bank of Ganges river in Varanasi, Indi thumbnail
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Varanasi, India thumbnail
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Please also take a look at the previous workshops to see what kind of pictures is taken on such trips. Maciej has been to India 11 times so far and now he is based in Mumbai, so he is very experienced at photographing this country. He has organised and lead over ten Indian workshops so far and they all have been very successful (not only according to the participants – Maciej thinks the same).

 

ABOUT Maciej Dakowicz

Maciej is an experienced Polish photographer, traveller and gallerist currently based in Mumbai, India. He holds a PhD in computer science, but abandoned science to focus on photography. He is one of the founders of Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff, a member of the Wideangle photo agency, the international street photography collective In-Public and the un-posed Polish street photography collective. He has worked on various photographic projects in the UK and abroad and his interests are in documentary, travel and street photography.
Maciej’s photos have been widely published and exhibited around the world, shown at photo festivals (including Visa Pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France) and he is a recipient of numerous awards. He was profiled among 46 leading street photographers in the “Street Photography Now” book published by the British publisher Thames & Hudson, who also published Maciej’s first monograph – Cardiff After Dark in October 2012.
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