Photography is always something that I have admired from afar, but have never been good at or truly taken part in (except for putting filters on my Instagram posts, of course). However, for my internship and my corresponding travels (before and during), it was something that bought into, not necessarily consciously. With my trusty camera in hand, I documented my travels through Spain and Germany, my arrival in and exploration of Bangalore, and my travels through India (for work and pleasure). I have not carried my camera with me every day, and after deciding to write about five photos that describe my experience, it is clear that I need to change that.
Here are five snapshots that begin to scratch the surface of my experience and are in no way totally representative of it. Most of the photos are of people, because it is the people who have been integral to my experience so far and it would not be the same without them.
Thanks to living alone in a studio apartment Shekara is usually the first and last person that I see everyday. He is the doorman at the apartment complex where I live and without him, my time here would be much harder. His help with navigating the postal system, speaking the local language on my behalf, and so much more has been extremely helpful, especially considering he does not speak English.
This picture displays a small part of my walk to and from work (which could be a photojournalism project of its own). On my way to work, it is busy with vendors setting up for the day while students and business people begin their days. On my way home (as shown here), it is full of vendors and customers haggling over their wares; students milling about on their way home or to tutoring, transit riders scrambling to catch the departing bus, neighborhood dogs cruising around, and so much more. My first experience with the crowds was quite overwhelming, and while it is easy to navigate now, it is amazes me.
None of my coworkers particularly like to take photos, but agreed to allow me to take theirs. Kiran, Anisha, and Amit (left to right), have been so helpful during my time here. Kiran is an architecture intern working on parallel aspects of the project I have been working on and has been essential to my successes thus far. Anisha is a full time conservation architect and Amit manages the organization (while our director is on leave). Without their Indian history lessons and previous experiences, I would not know or understand nearly as much about my host country.
This photo is of Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace located in Srirangapatna, Karnakata. I am extremely fortunate and privileged to be able to travel to amazing places for my work on SUI’s sustainable tourism model, and I felt that I needed to include a photo that represents the places and issues that I think about everyday.
This final photo came from one of my Sunday explorations of Bangalore. While visiting the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, this family asked me to take their photo. I do not know why specifically as they did not speak English, but it speaks to the interactions that I experience almost everyday as a foreign intern. The people in India (especially in my neighborhood) are extremely kind and inquisitive, so I am approached and questioned often. I am asked about my experiences, my profession, my marital status, how I like Bangalore, and so much more. People love to take selfies, have me take their photos, or even try to provide me services for free. It is very different to have this type of perception, but I believe it is because the people of India love their country so much and want me to love it as well.