Perhaps because of the pink hue and the layered folds it
seems like an unfolding blossom on a bosom.
Often i marvel at the sheer aesthetics of a sari, the
uncomplicated elegance, the grace with which it enwraps and the effortlessness
with which it curves and falls and holds is something else. The other day i was
looking at a grandmother walking past my window and i was mesmerised by the way
her foot fall would splay the pleats and then collapse again and i realised all
over again that the sari is one of the most intelligent things to cover the
female form with. It enhances and it enables. But that is an ode to the sari.
My ode to the photograph is that with a little bit of light tapered to a
shadow, you have captured the beholder's fancy.
I took this picture at a performance presented by a Spanish cultural ensemble whose name I do not recollect, at the Museum Theatre in Chennai. The performances were so liked and applauded that an encore of all items was presented at Music Academy the next day I did not have much photographic equipment. My Minolta SLR had a telephoto 60-150 zoom lens, to keep which steady I inserted it with the camera body between two seats. The probable exposure was f1/16 at 1 second. I held my breath, expecting nothing, but somehow got two-three pictures which I bandied around in exhibitions in and outside the country. Like me, of course, the photograph has aged much.
Many people associate flamenco with the opera Carmen, although the opera was written by a Frenchman, Georges Bizet. The story of Carmen was based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed in 1875. The subject matter was daring and controversial for the time:
A soldier, who is upright and unworldly, is seduced by a Gypsy cigarette girl – a worker in a cigarette factory, Carmen. He is so besotted with her that he abandons his sweetheart and disgraces himself by deserting from the army. After he has lost everything, Carmen mocks him, and leaves him for a toreador, Escamillo. Finally the soldier, José, is in such a state of rage and despair that he stabs Carmen to death. Bizet used Spanish musical themes for Carmen, including flamenco tunes. One of the most famous scenes in the opera is the Habanera:
As an aside, for those who are familiar with the music and the universality of the theme of unrequited love leading to the tragedy of murder, not only in Spain but in France and in Hollywood, and definitely in India and elsewhere, Carmen has taken many incarnations in theatre as well as in the form of cinema. Among the best known and award-winning ones are Carmen Jones, with a black American cast including Harry Belafonte; and Carmen in flamenco style, made by Carlos Saura. Those who have been patient with me thus far would find the rest.
Light and darkness. Consider the almost unalterable time in human hours that earth takes in its rotational and revolutionary, magnetic, gravitational forces essentially emanating from the sun, not to count the minutiae of the movements of all solar systems and galaxies, which separate for the living on the planet, in theory equally, light from darkness. There are lurking lights like man-made electric and other beams and spreads. There are also darknesses not naturally endowed or cast, which apparently, in the human mind, far outclass the light by the vindictive malice of their machinations. Just by chance, is the picture also a human face? See the forehead on top, eyebrows, and dark sockets for eyes, and nose engulfed in flame. Is there an unintended meaning here? The darkness behind the light. --------------------------- Anonymous wrote:
Baar baar dekhtey huey achaanak samajh aaya what i found
disturbing about that photo. It is like beheaded heads sunk in congealed blood and
because blood is not something that you are good with, i was disoriented, i find the composition striking and frightening. Because it
is a globe kind of curve it looks like the human world is expressing horror at
its capacity to self destruct. And the sole purpose of the light seems to be to illuminate
the horror rather than driving out the dark. Dont tell anyone but i see more
than one face.