India is an assault on the senses. It’s colourful, loud (honking the horn is not just encouraged but actually required) and smells like spices, chai tea and urine.
I went for 10 days with seven other photographers to shoot street photography. Anja is a fave girlfriend of mine from Brighton who has second shot for me at loads of weddings, and we’ve been friends for years. Matt came to my workshop a year before and we’ve been good friends since. We bicker like brother and sister and it’s the most fun. Andrew has interviewed me a couple of times for his podcast PhotoBizX and we finally met on this trip (he lives in Australia). The funniest moment was when he drew the “short” straw and had to sleep in a tiny bed for three nights! John came to our last street photography trip in Barcelona (along with Anja and Matt) and has an epic handlebar moustache that the Indians loved. Alex is a fellow wedding photographer who loves picking people up and swinging them around – he became an honorary girl on the trip as we had hostel rooms with four beds in each and 3 girls and 5 boys. He was the only boy who didn’t snore (he did fart a lot though) so he got a spot in the girls’ room. Carla and Jide I first met on this trip. Carla is a hilarious Romanian/Hungarian who cracks me up and Jide is a Brit living in New York who is an amazing photographer and all round funny dude.
We slept in hostels, homestays and on trains, most of us got the trots, all of us got a cold and the whole 10 days was a whirlwind of curry, Dominos pizza, illicit beer, really terrible Indian wine, sharing poo experiences, getting through vats of hand sanitiser, trying salt lassis (which should not exist), playing Exploding Kittens, waiting for trains, running for trains, and getting increasingly terrible Uber ratings. We got up early and went to bed early, drank our body weight in tiny cups of chai and ate curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We visited the crumbling slums in Delhi, saw burning bodies at the Ganges in Varanasi, and spent hours at train stations and meat markets looking for the perfect street photos. We took tuk tuks everywhere (when we didn’t get an Uber – oh man is Uber cheap there) and raced tuk tuks when we all travelled together.
But the people were the most wonderful part of India. The poorer they were, the more generous they were. We were invited into many houses for a cup of chai and chapati. And when I say house, I mean the floor space is about 2×4 metres and the kitchen is a crawl space.
We didn’t realise how easy it would be to take street photos in India. People begged us to take their photo! I took 10,000 (no exaggeration). Here are my favourite images from India.