A Camouflage Series: India

17

When the Indian man in military uniform (our only company for seven hours as the mountain passes across the north Indian Himalayas are de-bouldered) blends in with the snow-belched mountains behind and all around, and all the patterns then start to resemble that of a cow’s coat, you know you need a change of scenery.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

Transporting Melons in Turkey

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Though seemingly an innocuous image of a man dressed in white, transporting vibrant yellow melons in his white truck, with red cloth draped over and backed by verdant plants, as I captured this photograph my thoughts instantly leapt to another situation that was being played out at this very moment on the other side of the country. Where a similar make of white truck transporting equally yellow melons would have been being bombed and attacked during the third phase of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government, beginning in late July 2015 and still being waged.

Though safe on the northwestern Aegean coast, civilians and travellers in other and nearby regions of Turkey were not so fortunate.

This photograph symbolises for me now and then the bizarre and inexplicable luck that one scene experiences in place of another’s misfortune, and the very real repercussions one and many might suffer due to mere location and timing.

If nothing else, this photograph might teach us simple humility and gratitude that whilst I admired this scene, others who did just the same elsewhere saw a very different end.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

One and Many Cities

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Shot from the inside of a speeding taxi as we fled Mumbai’s famous and charming Leopold Cafe on Coloba Causeway, where there are still bullet holes from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to a salubrious air-conditioned shopping mall, in a sports bar on the top floor of which we would while away the midday drinking cocktails in supposed normal Wednesday fashion for Mumbai businessmen, or at least for the kind man who led us there. Having started chatting in the cafe, we let him show us his Mumbai, violently different to everything we had previously experienced in this country; stockbroking, malls, taxis, afternoon drunkenness. It seems the joint in which we ended up attracted a similar and regular crowd; we were lucky enough to get on the wrong side of an ex-girlfriend, a recent and raw breakup, the involvement in which two young European girls was not appreciated.

This photograph I find particularly poignant. Two bright, clashing figures, entwined one with the other, man’s head on woman’s shoulder, looking out at the cityscape of Mumbai’s high-rises over the dirty water. The scene is grey, but the movement of the taxi and growing distance between us and them palpable. Their stasis is assertive, however, and the city beyond even more so; now a distant and unchanging ghost hanging over the wider city.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

Silver Chai Wallah

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The model/chai wallah at my local haunt in Jaisalmer, India. He seemed a man of silver: hair, moustache, earrings, shirt. Even the street and his pots and kettles behind him glimmered grey, which felt rebellious in the ‘Golden City’ amidst gilded desert.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris 2016. All rights reserved.

Boy and Goat in Bikaner

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The piercing green eyes and bold composure of this young boy, whom I met in Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, I find mildly evocative of journalist Steve McCurry’s 1984 photograph The Afghan Girl. He has a self-assured and captivating glare which seems beyond his modest years.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris 2016. All rights reserved.