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The Taj Mahal Brings Out The Ugly Aspect of Images


The Taj Mahal can present a facet of photographers that isn’t very interesting.

Like most photographers, I used to be thrilled to be visiting the Taj Mahal. The night time earlier than, I cleaned up my Fujifilm XT2, ensured I powered up my batteries, and cleared my SD Card. I wakened at 4:30 am, with the nice and cozy Indian warmth burning my physique. I purchased a espresso from the small retailer outdoors my resort, paying $0.05 for the privilege. Now totally awake, I launched into my journey to one of many wonders of the world.

Visiting the Taj Mahal

When you’re but to go to Agra, the town the place the Taj Mahal lives, then permit me to explain it. The streets are stuffed with a variety of animals. Tuk-tuks (small taxis) navigate round cows, goats, and wild canine. The tuk-tuk drivers will hound and observe you round, hoping that you’ll finally fold and pay for a experience. And if the cows, goats, and canine usually are not round, you’ll you should definitely stumble upon some monkeys alongside the way in which.

Oh, and there’s the scent. Yeah, about that. The scent is so piercing it’ll make your eyes water and pressure you to query life and human existence. Nevertheless it’s India, and the entire above is a part of the appeal.

Waking up early, I assumed the variety of folks attending at the moment can be small: I used to be fallacious. Dawn on the Taj Mahal is well-liked, particularly for photographers. All of them need “the shot.”

Because the grounds opened, herds of individuals started to move by means of The Nice Gate. And there it was. 100 or so metres on the different finish of the backyard, produced from stunning ivory-white marble, stood the Taj Mahal. On this good, considerably non secular second, I knew I had arrived. After which all of it when downhill.

The Nice Gate. Taj Mahal, India.

A Media Scrum on the Taj Mahal

What adopted my blissful second was nothing wanting anarchy. When you’ve ever seen a photograph of the Taj Mahal on Instagram (there are thousands and thousands, so you could have), the photographer doubtless took it whereas standing on the Nice Gate. After I was there, I noticed photographers and vacationers push and pull one another, making an attempt to edge their approach to the “golden spot.” Disgruntled folks, huffing and puffing, “why are they taking so lengthy?” as they waited to get to the entrance of the road.

It was very paying homage to a media scrum, the place journalists battle to get near the individual of curiosity. I noticed folks arguing, placing their cameras in entrance of different peoples cameras, and simply behaving like cavemen and ladies. For what? All as a result of they wished to create the very same {photograph} as one another. I wished no a part of that.

Discovering Different Views

I’m by no means wish to create pictures which are the identical as everybody else. To me, it’s the photographic equal of portray by numbers. No inventive thought goes into making the {photograph}. In order I got here away from the mayhem, I started to discover the grounds and the folks round me. I made some impromptu portraits. And I analyzed how folks interacted with the Taj Mahal, looking for methods to create a compelling {photograph}.

And for a blanket shot of the surprise itself, I walked 50 metres forward of the Nice Gate, the place hardly any folks stood, and obtained this {photograph} beneath. Positive, it takes out a whole lot of the well-known backyard. However at the very least I didn’t have to go to struggle to create it.

A Sheep or a Lone Wolf?

A portrait made at The Taj Mahal.

If India is among the international locations you wish to go to as soon as the pandemic is over, who do you wish to be? Do you wish to be the sheep who follows everybody else to get the identical end result? Or do you wish to be the lone wolf that strays away from the pack and does its personal factor?

Positive, I didn’t get the “golden shot”, however for me there’s nothing golden about none inventive images. As a substitute, I selected to seize issues from a distinct perspective. And I’m proud of the pictures I made. I’m even happier that my dignity was nonetheless intact. Who desires to argue with different folks at 5:30am simply to make {a photograph} that’s been shared one million occasions on-line already? A sheep, that’s who.

So once you discover the world and all its wonders, be the lone wolf. You’ll take delight in what you create and have a extra optimistic expertise – I definitely did.


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