Streets of South India

My Hindi language tapes have just arrived in the mail.  After an unforgettable week at the Kumbh Mela I’m planning on spending more time in North India where it’s more commonly spoken, so I’m going to get started on Lesson One in a few minutes.

Until now most of my 13 visits to India have been spent in South India. All of India is amazing but South India has a special place in my heart. I could go on and on as to why but here’s one reason…the food. Nothing on earth beats a South Indian breakfast. Idlis, Sambar, Pongal, Upma and Dosas are examples of what’s on the breakfast menu along with fresh Coconut, Tomato and Mint chutneys. Delicious!

Below is some of what I saw in January on the streets of South India. I like to make these photos as “close up and complicated” as possible, to quote the mantra given to me by a great photographer, teacher and friend Norman Mauskopf. I’m looking to include as much information as possible without cluttering the frame. That may mean using limited depth of field or just moving a step or two to position the key elements where I want them. Often I will set up the shot and then wait for someone to walk or drive into the frame, adding another dimension to the story. Street photography often reminds me of a juggling act. My thought process goes something like this…  “Here comes a lady in a great sari that’s perfect for the background.” “Hurry, the main subject is leaving.” “Oh no, get that arm out of the way.” “A cow is walking thru…great.”  It can be challenging but also extremely rewarding when all the elements come together. I’ve heard stories of photographers who spend an entire day in one spot waiting for their shot. Talk about patience and dedication.

To get multi layered photographs it helps to be in a place that’s filled with action. I’m interested in knowing…what are your favorite spots for street photography?   Phir Milenge. (See you later.)



  1. #1 by vivek on May 17, 2010 - 7:10 PM

    oh the dosa stall one !


  2. #2 by Stewart on May 17, 2010 - 10:06 PM

    Hi Cathy – great post. I enjoyed reading that.

    I think it was you that posted a link to a great street photographer who is great at ‘layering’ his images. He used mirrors and even shot through shop windows to get his shot. Any chance you can send me the link if you recognize who I am talking about.


  3. #3 by clauderenault on May 27, 2010 - 8:29 AM

    Nice blog you have here, i’ll come back


    • #4 by cathyscholl on May 27, 2010 - 9:20 AM

      Thanks a lot for visiting Claude. Come back any time 🙂
      Hope to meet you in India.


  4. #5 by Narendra daya on June 6, 2010 - 4:53 AM

    Hello and thanks cathy, my name is narendra; i was born in new zealand to indian parents;in 1970, i came to live in the sri aurobindo ashram,pondicherry(now known as puducherry)in south india;in 2007, i had a stroke that left me paralysed on my left side;the i acquired a smartphone, to enable me to keep in touch with the outside world, virtually, since i can’t do it actually(paralysis has this queer characteristic of making one incapable of movement!), thanks to the smartphone, i can indulge my passion for seeking beautiful objects;i came upon your blogsite via nevada wier’s blogsite; to make a long story short, your south indian street shots capture the look, feel, texture, even the smell of south india just as i’ve experienced it for the last 40years. Thank you very much–good work, and good luck;hope you live a hundred years


  5. #6 by cathyscholl on June 6, 2010 - 8:36 AM


    Thanks for your kind words and good wishes. I am happy you enjoyed my blog. I will be posting many more photos of South India in the weeks ahead. Are you still living in Puducherry? I visit there often. Maybe we can meet oneday.
    All the best to you.


  6. #7 by Kantilal Doobal TOURIST GUIDE,BHUJ-KUTCH on February 21, 2011 - 8:42 AM

    It is great journey to peruse these photos ! South Indian photos with women taking Arti from the lamps here you snatch their souls !!!! I can assume
    their feelings you can snatch the essence of the culture of India !!!!! I am proud to be a friend like you !! Thanking for sharing !



  7. #8 by cathyscholl on February 21, 2011 - 11:00 PM

    Thank you very much Kantilal. I am happy to know you and hope to see you again as soon as possible in Bhuj-Kutch.


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