Making of 40 Photographs #24

This is image #24 in my series of 'Making of 40 Photographs'. Chasing an image is just what it is : chasing and I really hate to chase images because it often means that I'm already too late. There's got to be a bit of the fortune teller in being a photographer in order to get the image you see in your mind and when something is happening, that's usually when you should be tripping the shutter.

Baktapur Girl with decorative head dress

I think as photographers, we go around looking for a 'moment' and it's our aim to be ready for it too. But I'm always aware that there has to be a pre-emptive phase to what I do.

Take the shot above. This was made in a UNESCO world heritage town called Baktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. I'd been wandering the streets of Baktapur in the early morning smog when I came upon two little girls being led through the street dressed like the girl above. They were a captivating site and as I say : I felt I was too late. Seeing them walking through the street stirred up a panic and frustration feeling in my gut because I knew it was going to be hard to stop them, to convince their parents to let me make an image. So I left the scene and went back to my hotel to let my mood recover from loosing such a potentially great image.

But often serendipity comes calling and later on that same day, I entered a court yard only to find the same girls seated for some kind of ceremony. Everyone around seemed to be waiting. I seemed to be accepted because anything that I did in the courtyard was taken with no great surprise and I found myself getting close to the girl above - perhaps a foot or so away from her to get this portrait. She just seemed to be so relaxed and obliging.

But the point is : the image came to me. I didn't come to the image. I can't force an image to happen when I command it to, and that morning, I'd been trying to do exactly that. It's a form of Karma - I'm sure.

Baktapur Girl #2

I offer this second image to give a little more perspective to the arranged group in that little court yard I stumbled into. I actually have no memory of making this shot, but it's one of my favourite images.... which I find interesting because I can't really connect it to any memory of my trip.