Two travel and Street Photography workshops in Varanasi, India with In-Public photographer Maciej Dakowicz in November 2015.
After several memorable workshops in colourful Varanasi Maciej Dakowicz returned again in November 2015 to this fascinating city to inspire another group of photography enthusiasts. This time during Diwali Festival! And a week after there was another workshop during Chhath Puja!
9 – 15 November 2015
Chawengsak Assawinnimit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/chawengsak/
Chuutsana Samansap – https://www.flickr.com/photos/133781671@N04/
Sakbhon Sasinnakin – https://www.flickr.com/photos/137580283@N03/
Chris MacDonald- https://www.flickr.com/photos/132223914@N05/
16 – 22 November 2015
David Saunders – https://www.flickr.com/photos/137361660@N05/
Steven Reynolds – http://www.steverimages.com/
Stefan Groenveld – http://www.stefangroenveld.de
Klalil Lambert – https://www.flickr.com/photos/71085467@N07/
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. According to him it is one of the best paces in the world to practise street photography and that’s why he keeps returning there with his workshops.
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.
It will be a very practical workshop and there will be a lot of shooting every day. A very small group of max 4 participants means a high level of interaction with Maciej. You will be working in pairs changing “partners” after the lunch break. While shooting with Maciej you will have a chance to observe him at work, learn his techniques and tricks, and receive an instant feedback on your photographic technique. A special attention will be put on developing and practising “social skills” – an interaction with local people. You will not only be a fly on the wall hunting for decisive moments like Henri Cartier-Bresson, but also get really close to people, engage, talk and photograph them. Maciej is a very experienced travel and street photographer and you will learn a great deal of new things. In the evenings you will edit and discuss your freshly taken photos in the group together with Maciej. There will be plenty of opportunities to talk photography too. Maciej will also present several slideshow presentations in which theoretical and practical aspects of street photography will be outlined and discussed. All previous workshop participants found them very useful.
It will be a very memorable week that will change you not only as a photographer, but as a person too. You will return back home confident, inspired and motivated to keep developing as a photographer.
The participants of the workshops are responsible for all travel costs, including the visa, air tickets, food, accommodation and local transport. Luckily India is still a rather affordable place to be and total weekly travel spendings are usually around £150.
The total cost of such an adventure (including Maciej’s fee) should be less than £1500 (when flying from the UK for around £500).
The group will stay in affordable and comfortable hotel perfectly located in the central part of the ghat area, on the shore of the Ganges. A single room price will be around £15 per person (cheaper or more expensive rooms are also available). The whole group will stay at the same hotel, to make the workshop experience fuller and easier, as there will be many hours spent together in the hotel’s common area on discussing student photos.
Getting to Varanasi
There are different ways of getting to Varanasi. When flying from abroad you can either book one ticket from your place to Varanasi, that will involve a transfer at one of the big airports in India. Alternatively you can book in your country a flight to Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata and then book another domestic flight to Varanasi on http://www.cleartrip.com/, which is an excellent Indian booking website. You can try synchronising flights, but most probably you will have to spend a day or night in the transfer city. You can also take train to Varanasi, booking a ticket on cleartrip.
Don’t worry, Maciej will help you deciding on the best way of getting to Varanasi.
Below are some of Maciej’s photos from Varanasi shot during previous photo tours (each taken while shooting with a workshop participant).
More photos from Varanasi: http://www.maciejdakowicz.com/cities/varanasi/
Please also take a look at the reports from different previous workshops to understand how unique they are. There are many behind the scene photos and pictures taken by the students: www.maciejdakowicz.com/photography-workshops#past-workshops. Great memories!
ABOUT Maciej Dakowicz
Maciej is an experienced Polish photographer, traveller and gallerist based in Asia. 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 and a member of the international street photography collective In-Public. He has worked on various photographic projects worldwide 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 and he is a recipient of numerous awards. He was profiled in two major street photography books published by Thames & Hudson – “Street Photography Now” in 2010 and “The World Atlas of Street Photography” in 2014. Maciej’s first monograph Cardiff After Dark was published in October 2012.