With the use of photography and video I will make a short movie of traveling to Himalayan holy towns and the people I meet on the way.
What I want to show the world is something beautiful, something true, something they are unfamiliar with and something that they didn't know that they already knew.
Last winter my father left his home in upstate New York to go to India to die. He was a Sufi (Islam's mystic branch) teacher for over thirty years who set up a charity with my mother in New Delhi and always felt that India was his true home.
He asked for his ashes to be spread in Gangotri, a Himalayan village next to the source of the Ganges river.
In his last months he stayed with Indian friends of his in a small cement room in the house of a Murshida (woman teacher of Sufism) who was the spiritual guide to hundreds of Islamic transsexuals. In the next cement hut over was a kankha, a rest house for wandering dervishes. Getting to know these people has been invaluable adventure.
On my way to spreading my father's ashes I want to sit down with these wanderers and souls who have given their lives over to the pursuit of their Ideal and see what they have to say.
After my last trip to India I made a video of the sights that I saw and a few of the people that I met, using the music or noise from street performers or sacred chants that I was able to record. An example of this can be seen on the project video or youtube. I want to use this same format but concentrate more on "interviews," and less on my photography.
I have been to India many times but this will be the first trip I'm taking with a personal project in mind. I believe that if I take this trip, focused on creating this video, then I can make something special with the hope of sharing it with the world.
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The worst thing that can happen, besides being robbed by bandits and having all of my equipment stolen is that I won't get good footage. I can promise to get some great photos but I can't promise that I will get great footage.
If you engage people you can always get something worthwhile- especially when they are wandering holy men.
No. The video that you previewed was from my last trip to India- a sort of tourist video. Though I will keep the format similar, with this one I am actually going to try keep the camera steady! And will be seeking out more conversations with strangers on video.
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