Travel and street photography workshop in Varanasi, India during Maha Shivaratri festival in February 2015.


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A week-long travel and street photography workshops in Varanasi with Maciej Dakowicz during Maha Shivaratri festival in February 2015.

 

Location

Varanasi, India.
 

Dates

14 February 2015 – 20 February 2015.
 

Participants

• Denisa Alexandroaiei – www.flickr.com/photos/24986577@N03/
• Thomas Kirsch – https://www.flickr.com/photos/132094139@N08/
• Sara Nicomedi – www.flickr.com/photos/sara_nicomedi/
• Jeff Williams – https://www.flickr.com/photos/63378574@N05/.
 
 

WORKSHOP REPORT


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A photo critique session in the common area of our guesthouse in the evening of the third day of the workshop.


 
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Thomas photographs pilgrims at the main ghat on the third day of the workshop.


 
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Sara photographs pilgrims on the main ghat on the Ganges during the Maha Shivaratri festival in the morning of the fourth day of the workshop.


 
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Jeff in action during Maha Shivaratri procession on the fourth day of the workshop.


 
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Our morning ritual – an 8:30am breakfast at the terrace of our hotel. Well deserved after a very early morning shooting session!


 
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Denisa photographs in the lanes of the Old city on the sixth day of the workshop.


 
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The final night of the workshop. Our group at the terrace of our hotel. Ready for the final selection of best photos of the week.


 
 

WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT PHOTOS

Denisa Alexandroaiei

www.flickr.com/photos/24986577@N03/
 
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Thomas Kirsch

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132094139@N08/
 
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Sara Nicomedi

www.flickr.com/photos/sara_nicomedi/
 
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Jeff Williams

https://www.flickr.com/photos/63378574@N05/.
 
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PRE-WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Maha Shivaratri Festival

Maha Shivaratri is one of the biggest Hindu festival celebrated all over India in honor of The Great Lord Shiva. Varanasi is one of the best places to experience it, together with hundreds Sadhus (holy men) gathering there to worship Shiva.
http://www.varanasi.org.in/maha-shivaratri
http://www.varanasicity.com/mahashivaratri.html
http://www.demotix.com/news/610606/varanasi-maha-shivaratri-festival-2011
http://archive.indianexpress.com/picture-gallery/india-celebrates-shivratri/2280-1.html
videos from Varanasi Maha Shivaratri
 

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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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.

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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 high on the list of things to do in India.

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The morning light and the atmosphere it creates is magical. Be prepared for many very early starts.


 

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.
Limited to 4 participants only.
 

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. The total cost of such an adventure (including Maciej’s fee) should be less than £1500 (when flying from the UK for around £500).

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
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Varanasi, India
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Varanasi Stairs
Morning Exercises- Varanasi, India.
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Morning exercising on the bank of Ganges river in Varanasi, Indi
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Varanasi, India
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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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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 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.

Click to read about: WORKSHOPSUPCOMING WORKSHOPSPAST WORKSHOPSPARTICIPANT TESTIMONIALS