Baktapur Girl

I'm just heading off for the highlands, but before I go, I thought I'd post this image. I shot this in Baktapur, a village on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley. There are a lot of Hindus in Nepal and on this occasion there was a little ceremony going on.

Hindu Girl in Ceremony, Baktapur, Kathmandu Valley

I'd been out shooting in the early hours of the morning in the daily Kathmandu valley fog, when I kept on noticing small girls being escorted through the town all dressed up. But it was all elusive - the shot I wanted to get. So I let it pass. Then around midday I came across a little building where there seemed to be something going on. Upon entering the courtyard, I could see lines of girls all dressed up, with doting mothers keen to have them get more attention than the others. I'd like to say I knew what was going on, or that I understand the Hindu culture. Is she a living Goddess perhaps? (they appoint a girl every now and then to be a living goddess), I do not know. But it was the perfect opportunity to make some images and this was certainly one of them that when I clicked the shutter - I knew I had a nice composition.

It was shot with a Contax 645 and standard lens. The lens was focused as physically close as possible. The film was Kodak Portra, which I love for it's warm tones. I don't think the image is finished yet. It's my first scan from the Contax and I'm really pleased with it.  I found this camera really nice for portraiture work and now I'd like to find out if it's ideal for landscape work too.

Each camera system has its strengths and weaknesses. As much as I love my Mamiya 7, it's not really ideal for portraiture work, or in particular - getting in close.

I don't like to advocate the promotion of camera gear, simply because I feel there is too much of it. I've lived and worked with my Mamiya 7 for 8 years and I know it's flaws and I also know where I want to be going with my own photography. You can only reach that by building your experience and learning to work and get the most out of your existing systems. It's all too easy to just keep buying more gear, but on the other side of the coin, when you know you have limitations in your system, then it's time to find that missing something. I feel the Contax may be it.