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Sunday, January 1, 2006

India Live And In Color


The vibrant world of this cultural jewel is revealed through an amateur's lens


With their wash of hues and tones, Dakowicz's photographs provide a glimpse into the richness of a culture that extends back more than 5,000 years. A third of the size of the United States, but with the world's second-largest population (more than one billion people), India is a nation filled with vibrancy and life. As Dakowicz's lens reveals, it's a world rich with warmth, life and an almost unrelenting energy.

"For some, India may be overwhelming, too chaotic, with people everywhere," he says. "But for me, the multicultural mix of the people makes the reality of this country even more colorful."


A Rich And Complex Tapestry

The colors of India pose a photographic challenge—they're so strong that a photographer can fall into the trap of focusing on them alone. Yet to achieve a successful photograph, Dakowicz stresses the importance of looking beyond the saturated hues.

"I love the color in India," he says. "Often, I build my picture around color, but it's important to remember that color isn't everything. There must be something else in the image to make it work. There has to be a special moment, an interesting composition, something that evokes emotion."

Though India offers its iconic locations, such as the Taj Mahal in Agra, it's a country rich with ancient architecture and unique wildlife and landscapes. Dakowicz has discovered his own favorite locations to explore.

"I very much like the Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu with the walls painted with red and white stripes," says Dakowicz. "They provide a fantastic background for images. My favorite temple is Sri Meenakshi in Madurai, one of the largest temples in India. The whole city of Madurai is so genuine and so full of life.

"Another fantastic place is Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state. The stairs along the Ganges River are so colorful. You can watch people bathing in ghats and praying. My other favorite place is Jodhpur in Rajasthan, the blue city. You can wander for hours in its old streets, shooting scenes of daily life with all the blue houses and walls as a backdrop."

And nothing draws Dakowicz more than the people whom he encounters while traveling in India.

"I travel to places that seem interesting to me, and what make places interesting to me are people," he says. "I often photograph in the streets, but I also visit buildings or shopping centers. If I'm in a city with famous landmarks, that's even better. There, I can photograph people against a famous backdrop or in a well-known environment."


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