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The Blessed Fruits of Labour and Toil

Written by // Denver Rodrigues

Denver Rodrigues - The Blessed Fruits of Labour and Toil

India, is a nation with the world’s largest democracy 3and second most populous country after China; walking on the streets of India is all together a vibrant experience. Surrounded by innumerable faces, which speak of different languages, follow different religions and practice various traditions, a face in the crowd, reveals more than you can expect, whilst dropping all worldly resemblances. A stranger or visitor to this country can be alone, but be never left alone; there is always someone somewhere ready to help.

This project is a compilation of images portraying the day-to-day life of the bustling streets of India such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Mangalore. As a homegrown boy myself, I had the deep urge to experience street life first hand and explore the depths of the method to madness about these streets. I was bound to spend a few minutes with my camera every morning/evening, walking about the streets. A bold photographer yet a timid social person, my challenge was the apprehension in pre-supposing the outcomes of approaching people. Yet, I pushed my timidity to open up new relationships through my lens and learn from them those aspects that I wasn't aware of. This was one of the most beautiful things I experienced while I photographed. At the end of a day of work, my true accomplishment was not in the pictures my camera had captured, but by the extent I had grown fond of these ‘strangers’. 

Rodrigues Denver_4Documenting people and street events is not just about photographing or capturing the decisive moment; it’s something beyond that. A picture speaks a thousand words, and it certainly did to me. Every picture I reviewed on my edit table had a story in the image, a tale of experience, or a display of courage or a look of innocence.

While material comforts are minimal or none, these individuals lead a content and peaceful life. The ground reality of these many un-named faces is their life long struggle based upon daily wages and laborious work. Some children work at nights to pay for their education. Not many can afford even that.

Each frame captures an entire life story within it. While photographers immerse themselves into their work of artistic excellence and innovation, it is a welcome change for a photographer, to experience a slice of reality through the cultural context. The doe eyed ten-year-old girl with her long braided hair flirtatiously gazes into my lens, biting her lower lip in a paradoxical emotion of excitement and fear. Emotions one may not always see in our conundrum. Her innocence transcends all that hustle and bustle around, she makes time stand still. That's the power of street life in India. You can ride past it, walk past it or even look away from it, but when you capture just a frame, you've captured a lifetime worth of 'life' itself.

About the Author

Denver Rodrigues

Denver Rodrigues

Denver considers himself to be a work in progress; a student of life taking notes with a camera in hand. As a lensman, Denver’s language is sophisticated, impeccable and moving. His interpretation of seemingly mundane sights can be a powerful emotion frozen in time. Something the average person might miss in the blink of an eye. And somewhere between that blink is his art; the kind of art that straddles cultures, people, nature and moments of everyday existence often overlooked in a rush called Life. 

From a self taught passion, his quest for developing his innate photography skills took him from his country India to Canada where he is currently honing his skills at a photography school in Toronto. His work evokes powerful and distinct emotions, unique to every viewer and lends credibility to the famous quote from the venerable Ansel Adams, “you don’t take a photograph, you make it”

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