Archive for ambiguity

Shushila, the Hijra

Posted in Hijras of India with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2012 by designldg

 

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved. 
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

This is a portrait of Shushila which I took a few days ago inside her guru’s house in a little city located nearby Varanasi (Benaras) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Shushila is 35 years old, she was born in an Hindu family of the same town, she studied at school untill the age of 16 and she joined an hijra community when she was 17.
She didn’t become hijra (Hindi: हिजड़ा, Urdu: حجڑا), nor she was forced to be so, she was born like that as an hermaphrodite and therefore she is considered as a member of “the third gender”, neither man nor woman.
Like most of the hijras, she refers to herself linguistically as female, and wears women garments.

Becoming an hijra is a process of socialization into a “hijra family” through a relationship characterised as chela “student” to guru “teacher”, leading to a gradual assumption of femininity.
Typically each guru lives with at least five chelas; her chelas assume her surname and are considered part of her lineage.
Shushila’s guru is Sunita, a Muslim hijra, who has been teaching her to perform religious ceremonies at weddings and at the birth of babies, involving music, singing, and dancing.
Hijras are intended to bring good luck and fertility and they are most often uninvited to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Jain family’s and even to Christian’s for Christmas.
Hijras are said to be able to do this because, since they do not engage in sexual activities, they accumulate their sexual energy which they can use to either bestow a boon or a bane.
It is said that hijras’ curse brings bad luck or infertility.

One day Shushila will become the guru of her community after Sunita’s death.
Sunita decided that it ill be like that and Shushila will follow exactly what her guru said, she will carry the same teaching with younger hijras.
It is nice to see that in this community Muslims and Hindus are living together and respecting their beliefs, their religion.

As I was asking, she told me that she was happy with her life, she said that in her society she wouldn’t have been able to do anything else so she was enjoying her life as an hijra.

I took many pictures of her, I said that I wanted natural poses, I was trying to show her soul like I did with her guru’s portraits.
With Sunita we tried to make her laugh as she wasn’t used at all to be in front of a camera and finaly I like this one which is far away to what I wanted.
After showing her she said she was happy of the result.

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What We Can Help

Posted in Guria, Children of Hope with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2010 by designldg

© All rights reserved.

All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

 

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”
(Plato – Greek philosopher. 428 BC-348 BC)

This was shot a few days ago in the courtyard of GURIA in Varanasi (Benaras).
Guria is a Human Rights organisation fighting against the sexual exploitation of women and children, particularly those forced into prostitution and trafficking.
Manju and her husband Ajeet Singh are running this non-profit organisation at great personal risk, providing shelter and hope to many children.
They need any kind of help (money, food, toys, clothes,…) in order to carry on their task.
They are facing many difficulties from all those who would like to use those children as a second generation prostitution.
Manju and Ajeet Singh are modern heroes, this is why I decided to upload a few pictures connected to their work.

There are many ways to help and give a kind of support to Guria, this is its website,http://www.guriaindia.org and you may contact Manju and Ajeet at guriaajeet@rediffmail.com
If you are coming to Varanasi, this evening starts “Pearls of Love”, a concert series organized and produced by GURIA for the marginalised traditional artists in order to provide opportunities for the participants to show their creative skill (and not their sexual availability).
The festival takes place for two weeks at Munshi ghat every day at 5pm.
Here the women present the best of their repertoire as they strive to make their music and dance acceptable to the mainstream and, ultimately, financially viable.

Studies Under Way

Posted in The artwork and the artist with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2009 by designldg

Studies Under Way

 

This is another picture shot in the new workshop of my friend Durga in Varanasi (Benaras).

Those studies in progress pinned on a wall are part of a new topic about hijras, those members of “the third gender”, neither man nor woman. 
Durga Charan Das is a young painter living in the “City of Lights”, he is painting amazing bodies making love or sometimes alone but always with sensuality and strength, with something special that reminds a lot of Eugene Delacroix’s work…
Durga has already won several prestigious awards in India and now exhibitions of his work are starting in Europe.

For more explanations concerning hijras you may see those pictures
www.flickr.com/photos/designldg/3086720616/
www.flickr.com/photos/designldg/3085797949/

Sensual Illusion

Posted in 3 - RED HALO with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by designldg


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© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved. 
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“It isn’t safe to sit in judgment upon another person’s illusion when you are not on the inside.
While you are thinking it is a dream, he may be knowing it is a planet.” (Mark Twain)

This is one more picture of our new catalogue.
I took it at the upper terrace which is on the top of our office in Varanasi (Benaras).
Anand who is our favourite model is holding an embroidered throw in pure wool with patterns inspired by the Mughal designs which are on the Taj Mahal (RED HALO – Winter 2008).

This image is a sensual illusion because Anand was not nude, he was wearing a small dhoti which is a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth that I removed with Photoshop in this version.
I am sorry to break the “dream” but this young man is not a professional model, he is only modelling for me and therefore as I respect him I have to be honest and clarify this false appearance.

“Like” the new RED HALO page on Facebook and join this amazing human adventure in Varanasi, https://www.facebook.com/redhalo.in

Join the photographer at www.facebook.com/laurent.goldstein.photography

Body language

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“The oldest living city in the world”.

This is a close-up of Pritviraj and Vinod, during their training at the gym, at sunrise near Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).

Pehlwani (Devanagari: पहलवानी, Urdu: پہلوانی), Kushti (Devanagari: कुश्ती, Urdu: کشتی), or modern Indian wrestling, is a synthesis of an indigenous Aryan / Hindu form of wrestling that dates back at least to the 5th century BC and a Persian form of wrestling brought into South Asia by the Mughals.

A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan (also spelled pahlwan in Persian, champion, literally a Parthian).

Generally speaking, a Hindu teacher of wrestling is known as a guru and a Muslim teacher as an ustad.

The Indian wrestling form has undergone several changes in both the nomenclature and training methodologies through the ages.
The more prominent influences include the introduction of Persian nomenclature and western training methods.

Wrestling competitions, known as Dangals, held at village levels, have their own rules which vary from place to place. Usually, a win is awarded by decision from the panel of judges, knockout, stoppage or submission.

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Corps “accords”

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“The oldest living city in the world”.

This is a close-up of Pritviraj and Vinod, during their training at the gym, at sunrise near Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).

Pehlwani (Devanagari: पहलवानी, Urdu: پہلوانی), Kushti (Devanagari: कुश्ती, Urdu: کشتی), or modern Indian wrestling, is a synthesis of an indigenous Aryan / Hindu form of wrestling that dates back at least to the 5th century BC and a Persian form of wrestling brought into South Asia by the Mughals.

A practitioner of this sport is referred to as a pehlwan (also spelled pahlwan in Persian, champion, literally a Parthian).

Generally speaking, a Hindu teacher of wrestling is known as a guru and a Muslim teacher as an ustad.

The Indian wrestling form has undergone several changes in both the nomenclature and training methodologies through the ages.
The more prominent influences include the introduction of Persian nomenclature and western training methods.

Wrestling competitions, known as Dangals, held at village levels, have their own rules which vary from place to place. Usually, a win is awarded by decision from the panel of judges, knockout, stoppage or submission.

Join the photographer at www.facebook.com/laurent.goldstein.photography

Sunrise’s reflection upon a cross

Posted in Pehlwans from Benaras with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by designldg

© All photographs are copyrighted and all rights reserved.
Please do not use any photographs without permission (even for private use).
The use of any work without consent of the artist is PROHIBITED and will lead automatically to consequences.

“The oldest living city in the world”.

This is a portrait of Vinod who is a “pehlwan” (wrestler in Hindi) who exercises in a small gym club near Scindia Ghat along river Ganga in Varanasi (Benaras).
A few meters down there, Vinod has a little “shop” where he is selling pan, thea, water and sweets.

I shot this image while he was having an Ayurvedic Massage performed by his friend Pritviraj which is part of a pehlwan’s training.
It was early in the morning at sunrise and the sun is reflecting upon the cross he is wearing.
Vinod is Hindu however Christian crosses are actually becoming trendy accessories among the indian youth.

Join the photographer at www.facebook.com/laurent.goldstein.photography