Travel and street photography workshop in Rajasthan, India with In-Public photographer Maciej Dakowicz in December 2014.
1 December 2014 – 7 December 2014 (7 days)
Jaipur and Jodhpur
• James Gifford-Mead – www.jamesgiffordmead.co.uk/, www.flickr.com/photos/123977435@N02/
• Rose Vandepitte – www.flickr.com/photos/rosevandepitte/
• Manuel Zamora-Morschhäuser – www.zamora.de/photography/, www.flickr.com/photos/manuelzamoraphotography/
Rajasthan from Lonely Planet: “From the cackle of its colour-charged cities to the luminous splendour of its sun-kissed desert, Rajasthan is romantic India wrapped in gaudy royal robes. Here the fearsome Rajput warrior clans ruled with gilt-edged swords, plundered wealth and blood-thick chivalrous codes.
A vast and wonder-laced state with treasures more sublime than those of fable, the Land of the Kings paints a bold image. Compiling a must-see list in Rajasthan can cripple the fussy traveller: Meherangarh looming over bright blue Jodhpur, the giant gold sandcastle at Jaisalmer, the palaces and pageantry of Udaipur, Pushkar’s reverent yet carnival charm, the storybook whimsy of Bundi and the havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences) sprinkled through Shekhawati – see them all, and you’ll see a month fly by faster than the express bound for Pakistan. Like a microcosm of Mother India, there’s also abundant wildlife and warm people, glitz and camels, soulful music, glittering saris, tottering turbans and a surprisingly rich cuisine.
Yet Rajasthan’s largely rural population has grown tired of its own backward-looking image. Jaipur, the dusty pink capital, has rapidly become a fast-paced, modern Indian city, and literacy has made a rapid rise in the region. While the land is invariably harsh and droughts are a constant menace, imaginations are now fixed firmly on the future.”
Jaipur at Loenly Planet: “Jaipur, the City of Victory, is chaotic and congested, though it still has a habit of tickling travellers pink. Stunning hilltop forts and glorious palaces fit like footprints from a rich royal past, candyfloss-bright turbans blaze a trail through brilliant bargain-filled bazaars, and fluttering saris catch the eye like butterflies.
As the gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan, however, it’s also a city permanently under siege. Package tourists are captivated by (and offloaded on) the bustling bazaars, world-class hotels and clammy sophistication, while camel carts and cows waddle through diesel-soaked streets, rampaging rickshaw drivers hustle and burn past businessmen and tourists, and scores of street children beg outside huge jewellery shops and palatial hotels.
Jaipur beams boldest at dusk – when it’s well worth walking to Amber – and, much like its founder, Jai Singh II, the Pink City is both proud and resilient.”
Jodhpur at Lonely Planet: “Mighty Mehrangarh, the muscular fort that towers over the Blue City of Jodhpur, is a magnificent spectacle and an architectural masterpiece. Around Mehrangarh’s feet, the old city, a jumble of Brahmin-blue cubes, stretches out to the 10km-long, 16th-century city wall. The ‘Blue City’ really is blue! Inside is a tangle of winding, glittering, medieval streets, which never seem to lead where you expect them to, scented by incense, roses and sewers, with shops and bazaars selling everything from trumpets and temple decorations to snuff and saris. Traditionally, blue signified the home of a Brahmin, but non-Brahmins have got in on the act, too. As well as glowing with a mysterious light, the blue tint is thought to repel insects.
Modern Jodhpur stretches well beyond the city walls, but it’s the immediacy and buzz of the old Blue City and the larger-than-life fort that capture travellers’ imaginations. The old city has something like 100 guesthouses, most of which scramble for your custom within half a kilometre of Sardar Market and its landmark clock tower. This crowded, hectic zone is also Jodhpur’s main tourist shopping and eating area, and it often seems you can’t speak to anyone without them trying to sell you something. Areas of the old city further west, such as Navchokiya, are just as atmospheric, with far less hustling.
South of the old city, the newer parts of Jodhpur are less hectic, with broader, much less crowded streets. The city as a whole is cleaner than it used to be since shops were banned from giving out plastic bags in 2010.”
Theses 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 workshops participants found them very useful.
It will be a very memorable time 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.
Costs and practicalities
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, safe and clean hotels, with room prices usually between £10 and £20.
The Indian visa has to be obtained prior the workshop at the Indian embassy (through a specialised company like VFS in the UK) in the country of your residence (please google “Indian Visa”). The procedure is straightforward and well explained online: “Applicants can submit their visa applications either IN PERSON AT THE APPLICATION CENTRES or BY POST, however all applicants must fill the ONLINE FORM and submit/send the printed application form along with the documents checklists.” More information at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/onlineapplication.html (for the UK). The cost of the visa depends on the passport. British passport holders are charged £92 for a 6-month multiple entry visa.
Getting to Jaipur from Delhi: the best option is flying. You can book a domestic Delhi-Jaipur flight online at http://www.cleartrip.com. Here are the flights available on the 30th of November at cleartrip.com.
You can also take a train booking it on cleartrip.com too. The train ride is less than 5 hours. Here are some of the train options: on the cleartrip website.
Getting from Jodhpur from Delhi: again, the best option is flying. You can book a domestic Jodhpur-Delhi flight online at http://www.cleartrip.com. Here are the flights available on the 7th of December at cleartrip.
You can also get back to Delhi from Jodhpur by train, but it is a long 12-hour ride. However, you can take an overnight train! Here are the options on the cleartrip website.
You can also try making only one booking – a flight from your airport to Jaipur (which would involve a stopover in Delhi), but most probably it would be a more expensive choice. The best and most economical option is to make two bookings – a flight to Delhi and then a domestic flight to Jaipur or Jodhpur (on cleartip). You could even try synchronising your flights to fly to Rajasthan on the same day after landing in Delhi. Alternatively, you could stay in Delhi for a day or two before catching your flight/train to Rajasthan.
Please not be worried, if it sounds complicated. It is not. Maciej will help you with the travel arrangements if needed. Also, the whole group can meet in Delhi a day or two before, explore the city (preferably staying in the backpacker neighbourhood of Pahar Ganj) and travel TOGETHER to Jaipur to start the workshop. Maciej will be waiting for you there.
ABOUT Maciej Dakowicz
Maciej is an experienced Polish photographer, traveller and gallerist 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, 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. Maciej’s Indian street photographs were also recently featured in “The Atlas of Street Photography” book published by Thames & Hudson in September 2014.
Maciej’s photos from previous Indian photography workshops (each taken while shooting with a workshop participant) and during other visits to this fascinating metropolis:
Please also take a look at the reports from previous workshops for behind the scene photos and pictures taken by the students.
Before settling down in Mumbai Maciej visited India more than 10 times, so he is very experienced at photographing in this country. He has organised and lead more than 10 Indian workshops so far and they all have been very successful (not only according to the participants – Maciej thinks the same).
Click to read about: WORKSHOPS – UPCOMING WORKSHOPS – PAST WORKSHOPS – PARTICIPANT TESTIMONIALS