March 09, 2023

Holi Hai! Residency DAY 6

by Nikki Culley

We loaded our camera bags into the car just as the daylight was about to soften. The daughter of the people who ran the home stay Yashwini was leading the trip with two friends from the kitchen who had a knowledge of the local area. They agreed to be our spotters and rode ahead on a motorbike.

It had been a freer day on the residency as there was a bereavement in the local village and planned Holi celebrations had been delayed. We used the time instead to head out in the late afternoon light to find landscapes and portraits in neighbouring villages.

After about 20 minutes of driving, we rounded a bend to find a vast landscape dusted in the now warm orange glow of golden hour. We stopped to take photographs and also met some villagers nearby who were excited for Holi.

As we were getting back into the car, we heard distant chanting and shouting and hoped we might come across some colourful rural celebrations to document further along the road. About 15 minutes later we were stopped by a road block of some 25 young boys with bright, multicoloured Holi powder all over their arms and faces, who had been the source of the noise.

The light was a rich orange and it was a perfect moment to make portraits with the boys who were happy and welcoming with us, throwing coloured powder and singing.

A further 20 minutes down the road, guided by our spotters, we came to another spectacular landscape. There were mango trees, fiery saffron Palash trees and huge palms set against a wide valley backed by interweaving hills. We stopped to take some more landscape photographs in the last 20 minutes of fading light.

It was 7pm when we were finished. We headed back home, slowly trailing a towering truck, bursting at the seams with dried corn plants and chaff. It was dark by the time we turned the familiar left marked by hot pink Bougainvillea blossoms into the driveway of our homestay.

Photograph by Yashwini Singh