Rishikesh In Black and White

This photo essay documents life in Rishikesh, India. I spent six weeks in Rishikesh, a North Indian town bifurcated by the Ganges, studying yoga and soaking up the culture.

View of the east bank of the Laxman Jhula (bridge). This area is touristy and brimming with cafes, guest houses, yoga studios, and ashrams.

I chose to do a series in monochrome series because frankly I felt overwhelmed by the color in India; i.e., the decisions that come with shooting in color. During my month-long foray into Europe this past November, I shot extensively in color, employing techniques such as HDR and HDR-panorma (comprising of dozens of images), which were new to me and skills that I wanted to add to my skill set for their commercial value. The aforementioned techniques are time consuming and require more time spent at the computer post-processing images. Additionally, images created with HDR or panoramic stitching admit an easy "wow" factor that is, in my opinion, are too often used as a tool by photographers to eschew compelling composition and subject matter in favor glossy simulacrumic images.

In Europe, I felt myself beginning to walk this path leading to precipitous edge of an under-creative technological abyss and decided that I needed to sojourn back to the basics by “limiting" myself to monochrome. Doing so, I discovered that I am a more focused, in the moment, photographer when shooting in monochrome. With color photography, especially HDR and panoramic images, it sometimes feels as though each click of the shutter creates a technological prolegomena.  Monochrome on the other hand enables me to feel in the moment — to focus on composition and geometry.  Hence, I discovered that shooting in monochrome was well-harmonized counterpoint to my study of yoga — a way to extend my cultivation of mindfulness into my photography practice.