Every picture tells only part of a story. I want to share with you some of the story behind this portrait, which I am very fond of.
As is often the case with travel and photography it was a bit of a treasure hunt…Doing research, making contacts, following leads, driving long distances, often getting lost. Sometimes I would travel for an hour or two and show up at a Temple only to be told I was a day early, it hadn’t started yet. Of course I preferred hearing that over another common line “You’re a day late, it ended yesterday!” In most cases I was allowed to photograph, but sometimes not.
I attended this particular Theyyam for two evenings. The dressing area was in total darkness the first night but on the second night they strung up a light fixture, which made it possible for me to take some portraits. I knew I had taken some good shots of this particular Theyyam performer, Vipin so I offered to share them with him via email. The following day I sent some photos to Vipin as promised, but the email was returned. Vipin’s friend had given me the wrong address. I was very disappointed that he’d never receive his photos and would never know I had tried sending them to him. That evening I went to a Theyyam in a different town farther away. It turned out to be one of the “You’re a day early, it hasn’t started yet. Come back tomorrow” situations. I was in the middle of nowhere so at that point I assumed the night was a bust. On the way back to my room the driver got lost and much to my amazement we wound up passing thru the town where I had been shooting the previous two nights and THAT Theyyam was still in progress. I never expected to see Vipin again but I was “accidentally” given a second chance to get his correct email address not to mention another evening to photograph him!
A couple of weeks later I was attending a Theyyam and a man approached me, saying he’d seen me photographing at another Theyyam. I had this photo of Vipin on my iPhone and for some unknown reason showed it to the man. He looked at me with a huge smile and told me Vipin was his son!
I always say the photograph is the icing on the cake…the experiences I had with Vipin and his father are great examples of what I consider to be “the cake.” Rich moments that come from enjoying life with a camera.
What are your favorite stories about photographs you have taken? If you’d like to share them please post below.