At the beginning of my trip in Rajasthan and Gujarat, I spent a few days exploring Delhi, with Tewfic El Sawy, who organized the expedition, Wink Willet and Tewfic’s friend Anamitra Chakladar,
a photojournalist who works with NDTV.
We visited the most famous wrestling school in India, Guru Hanuman’s Akhara. a Kushti Akhara (a traditional Indian mud pit wrestling arena), and spent a couple of hours learning about their life and photographing.
A door separates the Akhara from the outside world and opens into a small courtyard .The men wearing only a loin cloth, – pumped weights before entering the pit to learn the art of wrestling. The trainees, many of whom live on the premises, follow a strict regime, which begins early in the morning with a long run followed by exercises and weight training. I find one of the key elements to success in any endeavor is perseverance and focus and it was clearly on display here. I asked “did the young men get to go out in the world” and the answer was no, they lived a pure and simple life totally devoted to their training.
I am starting the second edit of the images now – looking for the individual stories I want to tell – seeing how they fit together and what I have learned. There is an arc to mentally processing a trip just like there is an arc to the entire journey. At different points in the arc, as time passes, different images become important to me. I was using the lens baby on my Canon 5d Mark 2 for the first time here.
Then the infrared images, often my favorites, were well suited for the atmosphere here. There is a timeless quality, an element of mystery added when using the infrared light spectrum.