Kerala

Silhouettes in Kerala, India (Photo Essay for Dezine Magazine)

I have recently finished a six month voyage through India. It is a great country for photography offering a variety of landscapes, amazing architecture and a variety of interesting cultures to capture. Wherever you go in India there is always something to document photographically. Whilst I was in the South of India in the state of Kerala I spent a few days in Fort Kochi. This small coastal city is a great place for both street and architectural photography with a huge mix of different influences from throughout the ages. The area is famous for it's Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, as well as the elaborate Chinese fishing nets which were introduced by Chinese explorers in the 14th century.

I'm sure that in the right conditions the Chinese fishing nets can be photographed beautifully, but during my time there the sky was dull and the vibrant sunsets lacking! Instead I decided to experiment with some silhouette style images along the coastline. I enjoy taking silhouette photographs, I feel that their simplicity adds to their overall beauty and the addition of people can add a lot of emotion.

When taking silhouetted images, as with much of photography, the most important element is light. The subject that you want to be silhouetted should be directly in front of the light source. In addition, the background needs to be lighter than the foreground to create the silhouette. In these images the late afternoon sun was directly behind the people making it perfect for the high contrast silhouetted results. Choose subjects that are easily recognisable as your silhouettes and keep it simple. Try to avoid distracting elements within the frame and make use of the surrounding negative space. The subjects I took here were on a coastal walkway and I was slightly lower down on the beach shooting up. This angled technique ensured I had no distracting noise in the background of the frame. These images were taken using a Canon 5D4 and a Sigma 135mm 1.8 art lens. The extra range on the lens allowed me to stand a little further back and photograph away comfortably. However, any type of lens can be used successfully for silhouettes, practice until you create the perfect shot and have fun doing so.

I have written several previous travel photo essays for Dezine which can be found on their website. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photography in and around Fort Kochi

Last year I set off on a six month journey around India. I didn't really have a plan aside exploring and taking lots of photos on my travels. After a couple of weeks settling into the Indian way of life in Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru) I decided to fly to Kochi. Kochi (also known as Cochin) is a coastal city in India’s southwest state of Kerala. I always prefer being near the coast and the area had been recommended to me by both tourists and Indians alike. As a bonus, India’s largest arts event was being held in the city whilst I would be there, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018.

I spent a few days on the mainland of Kochi in the Ernakulam area before moving to the coastal area of Fort Kochi. Whilst in Ernakulam I experienced one of the elephant festivals which are popular throughout the state of Kerala. The festivals contain a large number of decorated elephants, elephant handlers, music and dance. Scroll through the slideshow below to view photos from the Elephant Festival:

Fort Kochi is a fascinating area by the sea, rich in history and well known for its Portuguese, British and Dutch architecture. Another attraction of Fort Kochi are the large Chinese fishing nets positioned along the beach. The Nets look picture perfect on the right day but I didn’t see a good sunset in the four days that I was staying there. I did however manage to capture some minimalist style silhouette photos above Kochi beach one evening.

As part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale being held during my stay, there was an excellent photography workshop that I attended in the Jew Town area of Fort Kochi. The full day event was presented by Nick Ut And Mark Harris. This pair of world renowned photographers told us their incredible life stories and guided us with concepts, ideas and techniques to help guide our photographic goals. Both of the presenters were extremely helpful and motivational in their delivery. At the end of the event, inspired by the masters, I joined another photographer on the course to explore the area and take some photos. Sri Harsha Pamu (Instagram: shellzero) from Hyderabad but now living and working in California is a big fan of street photography and made the visit to Kochi purely for the workshop.

Fort Kochi is an excellent place for photography. It is a small area which can easily be explored on foot. We wandered around for a few hours following the coastline and explored the many streets and alleyways within the town. Due to the Biennale there was a lot of art work around which when combined with people can make for some interesting street photography. The area has some beautiful old buildings as well as an interesting mix of Churches, Temples, Mosques and a Synagogue. The small town is still a place of work for the people who live there so there is plenty of authentic photographic opportunities to capture. The people are also very friendly and open to having their picture taken. Click through the slideshow below to view some of my street photography and street portraits taken in Fort Kochi:

I enjoyed my time in Fort Kochi but it was time to move on so I took a taxi a couple of hours south to my next destination, Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey) in the south of Kerala. Alappuzha (or Alleppey) is a coastal city who’s area is best known for it’s rustic backwaters, a network of tranquil and picturesque lagoons and canals. More of my travel photography from India can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.