Photos / prantik  
  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Imaginary Paradise
Ode to Reverie.

The punctuation of here and now with the ephemeral yearning for Paradise is perhaps the most uplifting of the human conditions.  

14 photos   Created on: 06/05/2008   Modified on: 12/08/2009

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : silhouette and shadow
I have been trying to hone my skill in seeing and shooting strong shadows and silhouettes (about two years ago Kajal inspired me to do that) and colours for a while now. This project is a compilation of pictures from various places, many of which the ex-TE-ers have already seen. Sorry about the repeat show. Hopefully, you will find a few new among the mix. These are all shot with the same camera (Canon 350D) and same lens (17-40). Looking forward to your honest criticism and suggestions as I would like to make progress on this front. Thanks.
9 photos   completed on 27/06/2008  

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Kolkata
Project vision:
   This gallery is an attempt at communicating a personal vision of the city in which I grew up and left sixteen years ago. I am a highly visual person and therefore the feature may be high on visual stimulation and low on social commentary. 

Photographic approach:
   Perhaps I should write this on my profile instead of here, but thought it might add some value. 
   I think today I am much closer to realizing who I am with a camera in hand than I was ehen I started taking semi-serious pictures about a year and half ago. First off, I am a reflexive and intuitive photographer as opposed to a thinking photographer. Second, more than anything, I am a travel photographer. I am realizing more and more that my true passion is traveling and connecting with a new culture than photography per se. I am in a heightened state of awareness when I am walking in the streets of a new town and soaking up everything my immediate milieu has to offer. I am inspired and intoxicated by the cultural idiosyncrasies of the place and the people I am discovering every moment. The camera is simply a tool for me to capture those moments or visuals when the neurons in my brain fires a signal telling me that something magical is about to happen. My photography is simply a reflection of my arduous attempt at discovering something novel in the place that is singularly different from the other places I had traveled before. I have noticed that I am not inspired when I am taking pictures for the sake of photography as an art, and no matter how hard I tried I completely failed in shooting anything remotely appealing
Personal note on Kolkata:
   I have been visiting the city every year or so over the past seven years. I see rapid change in certain aspects as well as stoic stagnation in others. "India is full of contrast" is perhaps the most over used cliché, but it is true, and no other city is perhaps as conflicted as Kolkata and no other people as idiosyncratic as Kolkatans. The state of West Bengal has been run by the Marxist parties who have recently discovered the wisdom in "market economy". There is a palpable wind of change in the city. The buying power of the middle and upper-middle class has significantly increased while there is still a significantly large section of people who live in dire poverty. In this city, people still fill up stadiums to watch a five day cricket match, mourn if Brazil does not win World Cup soccer, march in herds with their red flags protesting Western "imperialism", spend the entire day in "Coffee House" solving all the problems of the World, spend fortunes in buying the latest "in" gadgets and clothes at the fancy malls, live and cook and copulate in their squalid tents next to the garbage bins, beg on the streets, go to the plush Nightclubs dressed to the nines in Western fashions. A gin and tonic in a fancy bar costs 10$ (US) while people begging outside for 2 cents is not an unusual site. I hope these pictures bring out some sense of the place.
16 photos   completed on 11/01/2011  

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : A place called Chiapas
It's no secret to anyone that I have a thing for Mexico, and particualrly Chiapas. I made three trips to Mexico over the past one and half years, and visited Chiapas twice which were the highlights of my trips. As Lonely Planet describes, Chiapas is Mexcio's most enigmatic state with wildly ethereal landscape, mysterious indigeneous cultures and customs, colonial and rebellious charm of San Cristobal de las Casas, majestic Mayan ruins of Palenque, and the political presence of the Zapatistas. Rural people of Chiapas, especially the indigeneous people, are among the poorest in Mexico. About one third of the population are direct descendants of the Mayans, and in rural areas many do not even speak Spanish. On January 1, 1994, the day of NAFTA's initiation, an armed revolutionary group, the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN), or popularly known as the Zapatistas, occupied San Cristobal and three other cities in Chiapas and started the anti-neolibralism "Zapatista uprising". The intent was not to overthrow any government, local or federal, but to focus the world attention to the plight of the poor indigeneous people of Chiapas and to protest the signing of NAFTA. The Mexican army evicted the rebels quickly from San Cristobal, and soon after EZLN declared unilateral cease fire. Since then, except for a few low level conficlts, the Zapatista movement kept a low profile and have been working on the grass root level to improve the standard of living of the indigeneous people of Chiapas.

Now, twelve years later, the omnipresence of Zapatistas is clearly palpable in the cobbled streets of San Cristobal. The city walls are full of revolutionary graffitis, the bars and cafes are adorned with Che Guevera, Emiliano Zapata posters, night life is dominated by rebellious reggae music. Since the uprising, the town has adopted a youthful zeal and has been attracting socially conscious people, especially students, volunteers, intellectuals and artists from various parts of Mexico and rest of the world. The city has become a gathering place for Zapatista sympathizers and a base for humanitarian organizations or groups or even individuals working on indigeneous issues.

I spent most of my time in the beautiful city of San Cristobal. Aside from soaking up all the youthful energy, I greatly cherished the sheer beauty of this charming highland town. I went to the Mercado Municipal (local bazaar) every morning for breakfast. It is an onslaught on all the senses, and I felt like I was in one of the bazaars in Calcutta. I made short trips to nearby villages inhabitated by the indigeneous Tzotziles and Tzeltales people of Mayan descent and could not help but develop a deep respect and admiration for the organic and community based cultures and sensibilities of these communities.
(Reference: Lonely Planet's Mexico, Wikipedia) 
9 photos   completed on 11/01/2011  

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Six nights in New Orleans
So, as I said before, I got sick of -20C wind chill in Ithaca and one evening bought a ticket to New Orleans for the next morning. I am here since the 26th of December and will leave tomorrow night. I will write in detail about my experience in New Orleans once I get back home. A lot to write about. However, I just wanted to start the gallery today so that I could wish you all a very Happy New Year with a happy picture.
20 photos   Created on: 31/12/2008   Modified on: 31/12/2008

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Twenty slices
This will be a collection of pictures from various places. The idea of this project evolved from the failure to fit couple of colour pictures from New Orleans into the already existing BW album "Six nights in New Orleans". Nor is the number of decent colour pictures large enough to justify an independent colour album of New Orleans. I am sure I can find few other colour pictures from my travels that would not fit into the exisiting galleries. So here it is. A new gallery for the albumless. Can I thread them together to create a coherent album? Remains to be seen. 
20 photos   completed on 14/06/2011  

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Peru

A paltry collection from my last travel which was physically intense but photographically a sheer disappointment for various reasons.

Over the holiday season I went down to Peru for about two weeks. Landed in Lima just before midnight on Christmas Day, and took the first flight next morning to Arequipa. Spent one night in Arequipa, then took the bus to Puno and lake Titicaca. Next day, I moved to Cuzco, a beautiful colonial town in the Andes. The strategy was to slowly get acclimatized to the high altitude of Puno (about 4000m) and Cuzco (about 3500m) as I ascended from Arequipa (about 2300m). Well, so much for acclimatization. It started with the regular high altitude sickness symptoms of headache, nausea, breathlessness and general grogginess which for most people go away in couple of days as they acclimatize to the low Oxygen level. Well, not so for me. All hell broke loose on my first night in Cuzco. I could hardly sleep, had splitting headache, nausea, dry cough, high fever, and my lungs started making bizarre crackles. In the morning, as I started to hallucinate a little, and when even folding my socks made me pant, I realized that I was in trouble. My hostel lady called the medical center. The doctor came to my hostel and after measuring my blood oxygen level and heart rate (too low and too high respectively), he immediately took me to the emergency clinic where I was clamped to O2 bubbler and IV drips for two nights. Apparently, I developed HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), a critical combination of Hypoxia and Pneumonia. After two days of taking wonderful care of me, the clinic let me go. The doctors and nurses were absolutely wonderful, and I have nothing but admiration for them. Also, much thanks to Animesh who gave me crucial information and advice during this time. Also thanks to Cristian whose "Visions of Peru" feature on PH was a source of inspiration and for his suggestions on places to visit. 

Even after I was released from the clinic, I never felt fully functional in Cuzco due to the combined effects of heavy doses of antibiotics and high altitude. Always felt weak, nauseated, and generally fatigued, lacking the spirit to work the streets and find those indelible photo-ops. Besides, the town of Cuzco is a zoo (speaking for myself  here) and calling it "touristy" would be an understatement. One can not walk even five steps (seriously, I counted one day) without being asked to buy some crafts, or Machu Pichu tour, or massage. If my health permitted, I would have left Cuzco long time ago and spent few nights in the siesta-infested magical villages in the Sacred Valley. Unfortunately, I could only go for a day trip to few of these towns; Maras, Calca, Urubamba, and Pisac. To the future travelers to the Peruvian Andes, here is my recommendation: spend a few nights in these towns instead of Cuzco. I regret every moment for not being able to do that.

After getting exceedingly tired of Cuzco, one day I packed my bags and descended to Pucallpa, a rough and tumble town in the central Amazon of Peru. Spent two nights in San Francisco, a Shipibo Indian village on the banks of river Ucaayali.  While 100F and 95% humidity and the abundance of oxygen immediately refreshed my lungs, the over-abundance of mosquitoes, critters, snakes and the absence of electricity, running water and indoor plumbing was little too exotic for me to handle after two full nights. Left the deep jungle after three days and spent one night in Yarinacocha, a small ramshackle of a fishing town on the other banks of Ucayali. A day later, headed back to Lima where I spent the last remaining night before I flew back to the US.

Overall, it was an intense trip, I got some immersion into the cultures and I am very happy about it. However, photographically, it was a sheer disappointment. Not much worthwhile I could capture in this trip. As I sift through my RAW files, I realize how bland and uneducated my vision was, especially in the Andes. I can of course blame it on lack of oxygen and overdose of antibiotics, but that would be a cop out. Or I could reflect upon it and try to understand why things did not work out and learn from this experience.   

I have been struggling to figure out the best way to present the photos and finally decided to upload them chronologically: Arequpia to Puno to Cuzco to Sihipibo Village to Yarinacocha to Lima.  

23 photos   Created on: 15/01/2010   Modified on: 10/12/2010

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Travelog
Just a collection of random pictures from here and there                                      
15 photos   Created on: 25/05/2010   Modified on:

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Beaches of Oahu
A photovoltaic conference brought me to Honolulu. The official conference hotel is the hilton hawaii village which is essentially a mall under the sun. You really don't have to go anywhere, whatever you want is within three meters from you. You do not need to even go to the beach which is about 50 meters from the resort pool which is bluer than all the oceans and the seas of the world combined. Honolulu and especially Waikiki are uninspiring (much better than Maspalomas though). However, I took a day off from the conference and drove around the island of Oahu along the shore. The view is simply breathtaking. As you move away from Honolulu and go closer to the north shore, the beaches get empty, the super-sized and tacky restaurants get replaced by little prawn and shrimp joints and fruit vendors, and you do indeed accept that there is a good reason why people call it paradise.

Here is a compilation offew shots from the beaches of Oahu.

3 photos   Created on: 26/06/2010   Modified on:

  prantik / © Prantik Mazumder      Project : Maroc
Spent ten nights in Morocco during the holiday break. Flew into Casablanca on the 25th of Dec, spent one night, took the train next morning to Marrakech. Spent three nights in Marrakech which included a day trip to Essaouira, a small fishing town on the Atlantic coast. Then moved to Fes where I spent another three nights. Next stop Chefchaouen, a small hippie town in the Rif mountains. After spending two nights there I moved to Tangier. Two more nights there, then crossed the strait and went to Granada, Spain. Flew back home on the 8th.  
28 photos   completed on 19/04/2011  

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