Back in March I was inspired by a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. And by that, I decided to try to describe, in words, what the photographers among us were being asked to describe in pictures. I really had fun with it.
This is another one of those days. Yesterday’s Weekly Photo Challenge was about ‘pattern’. I immediately thought of India. The photo to the right is one I took when I was there, from the end of December 2008 until the end of January 2009.
Among many, many other things, India is all about an explosion of your senses. All at the same time. It can be overwhelming at first. The noise, the smells, the tastes and all the colour. All in the extreme. All done to excess.
But it’s absolutely fabulous! Spectacular! Like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Or likely ever will. I was
completely enthralled. Mesmerized. Almost Hypnotized.
Because I have a strong visual side to me, what made the biggest impression of all was, in fact, the variety of colour and patterns. In clothes, in bolts of silk for saris lined up one after the other, in the stacks of spices and tins of oil and tea and condiments on grocery store shelves, in how vegetables are arranged in market stalls, in the design of the glorious gardens, in the gold, precious and semi-precious gems which adorn the walls, ceilings, floors and columns of all the palaces and monuments and forts. In the clothing the women wear.
Deciding which photo to use to demonstrate what I’m talking about was really difficult for me. But in the end I chose one of a group of women sitting on the steps of a Jain Temple in Ranakpur, in Rajasthan. I did, after all, work in the fashion industry years ago. Please ‘click’ on it so you can get an idea of what I mean.
Would you ever have thought you could put all that together?
The women in India, from the poorest to the wealthiest, mix colours and patterns and textures in combinations we would NEVER think of doing. It would never occur to us, because we’d be convinced it would all clash. That none of it would work together. That we’d look ridiculous. That people would point and stare and laugh at us. It’s how we’ve been conditioned, I suppose. We wouldn’t even try.
There, though, it’s the norm. And trust me, it is overwhelmingly beautiful. Ornately beautiful. Magnificent. I just couldn’t take my eyes off them. I couldn’t take my eyes off anything. I couldn’t get enough of it. So much so, I took more than 5,000 photos. I was like a mad woman. Snapping everything and everyone in sight.
Imagine combining orange and red and bright yellow and pink.
Imagine combining stripes and floral prints and checks and tweeds.
Imagine combining the most delicate of silks with denim and wool.
Imagine entire ceilings of carved ivory, as delicate as lace. You think you’re looking at a doily. The kind your grandmother used to put under her tea pot to protect the table.
Imagine a driveway of a hotel made out of marble, in an intricate design. Cars drive over it, but it’s like a piece of art.
Imagine marble columns and walls and ceilings and floors inlaid with lapis and rubies and real gold.
So yes. What means PATTERN to me? India. Absolutely. Nothing else will ever come close. Nowhere else will ever come close.
Want more proof? Let me know when you have time. I’ve got 4,999 more photos to show you.