South Asia

Commissioned Micro Project

In my class, we were given the assignment to pair up with another student in order to commission that student to create a piece of work. This is the brief Andrey commissioned me to do:

BRIEF: Is this really South Asia?

Can you create a series of images taken in your city that will very likely look decidedly non-South Asian in the eyes of most viewers. So no women in saris or men in Sikh headdresses or Ambassador cabs. It can be places, street scenes, people, or buildings that most will not likely associate with this area.

It was a fun micro-project that really made me think twice about the process of creating a body of work. Here's what I came up with! If you want to read the process I went through to create this micro project, you can find it here on my critical research journal for my class.

Opening in most large cities, fancy shopping areas are places to escape the heat and enjoy clean, air conditioned shopping without the hassle of markets.

Opening in most large cities, fancy shopping areas are places to escape the heat and enjoy clean, air conditioned shopping without the hassle of markets.

In a land where "Chai" (tea) is normally the hot beverage of choice, coffee is a new phenomenon that is gathering a following.

In a land where "Chai" (tea) is normally the hot beverage of choice, coffee is a new phenomenon that is gathering a following.

Franchises from other countries, like Cinnabon, have successful debuts, allowing other nations to enjoy something new and different.

Franchises from other countries, like Cinnabon, have successful debuts, allowing other nations to enjoy something new and different.

Exercise is a growing value that's drawing both men and women, working out in the same space—a taboo idea that makes some still feel uncomfortable.

Exercise is a growing value that's drawing both men and women, working out in the same space—a taboo idea that makes some still feel uncomfortable.

Sari's and Shalwar Kameez aren’t the only chosen dress for South Asians anymore—Western clothes are accessible and an acceptable clothing choice that many prefer to wear.

Sari's and Shalwar Kameez aren’t the only chosen dress for South Asians anymore—Western clothes are accessible and an acceptable clothing choice that many prefer to wear.

Thanks for taking a look! Hope you have a great weekend!

-Ashley

New Aspects of Culture

One fun thing about living in another culture is being able to experience new aspects of that culture which are very foreign to you. Such as this man above, selling powder to make beautiful designs. I had never seen this before! The circular looking items to the right are stencils that help you create the design almost flawlessly. 

I learned that these particular designs are called, "Rangoli", and is used during many festivals here. The powder is made from rice (or other materials, like flour) and you can find many colors--all being very bright! 

I thought they were really beautiful. Many of the shops we passed actually had designs like these on the side of steps in front of their building. I don't understand all the cultural meanings or implications, but it was something very unique for us to discover while we were out shopping the other day!

I sometimes wonder about what I think is normal in the State's that other cultures would consider fascinating. Just like Rangoli designs, this is something they do on a yearly basis--so while it's probably special, it's still common enough to know about and to not think of it's uniqueness. I imagine if I thought hard enough, I would be able to come up with many holidays, customs, and events Americans perform that would be strange or unique to other places.

All this to say, you don't have to live in an "exotic" place to capture interesting photos. I encourage you to go out today and to think critically about your life situation. What is unique? What is special? What do I think is "normal" that other places would see as interesting? Capture those photos and see what comes of it! Send me a link in the comments section if you go out--I'd love to see your work.

-Ashley

Colorful Fabric

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Albeit fabric stores are colorful and fun to look at, I have a love/hate relationship for fabric shopping. I like it because there are so many colors and different designs, which is fun for me to look at. I also enjoy thinking about what a suit could look like and how I could design it. That's right up my alley! :)

However, sometimes it can be really crowded or I can't speak good enough in the language. That can put a damper on things--but I am learning and growing. There is so much I can do now that I couldn't do a year ago, so that's exciting! 

In the US, people generally don't buy fabric to make clothes (at least I didn't and neither did my friends). My Mom did when I was a kid, but nowadays, I feel like it's not as common. That is one thing that is a benefit here if you're into that--you can find lots of fabric everywhere for all kinds of projects!

Do you buy fabric? If so, what do you like to make with it? 

-Ashley

Food Staples

In every culture there is the 'go-to' food for having a guest over or a dish that almost everyone loves. In the place I live, it's Biriyani (hands down), but another staple is Karahi - this below, is Chicken Karahi. It's okay if you drool; I did when I first saw it! :) (and it was worth drooling over!)

Chicken Karahi is a spicy, saucy dish that you eat with roti or naan. The green leaves you see over top is Cilantro (or for some of you that is called coriander) and it adds a lot of flavor to the dish. Chicken Karahi is often cooked in a Karahi (what you see there in the picture). I love our Karahi. It is one of the best pieces of crockery I've ever purchased. It's kind of like a wok in size and in function.

Many people eat this dish and love it, but since it's meat it's normally cooked only for special occasions since meat is kind of pricey for most. 

So now, I don't blame you if you decide to go find Chicken Karahi! :) I might have to do to the same thing myself, although for me it's pretty easy to find. 

Hope you have a wonderful Friday and enjoy your weekend!

-Ashley

University Students!

The fun thing about working with college students is that it reminds me of my days in university and how fun it was. Thinking about that, it makes me realize how University students are the same everywhere. They are full of life, have the future before them with many opportunities, they don't have too many responsibilities, are young and for the most part, happy. :) As I was walking around taking photos of students for my photo exhibition project, these students eagerly tracked me down for their picture. 

Don't they look so happy/joyful?

I have many of these. Will post more at another time!

-Ashley

Around Campus

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm doing a photo exhibition to celebrate the 150th year of the school I work for. As I was walking around taking pictures on campus the other day, one of the students literally hunted me down, asking to take his photo. I don't think I'll use this one for the exhibition, but thought it turned out nicely. 

Yesterday I went and shot sports--Cricket, Boxing and Basketball. Hopefully I will shoot Field Hockey, Cricket (again) and a few other sports today after my classes. I also will be going into classrooms today to take pictures of professors teaching. This has been a blast! Sad it will be ending soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Ashley

Buying Cloth at the Market

I've been to buy cloth at the market and guys...I'm just not that great of a haggler! My husband on the other hand, he's a rockstar! I have tried and I have gotten better over the past months, but, it's not what I look forward to doing when I go. That is why I now bring my local friend. :) That is not called 'being lazy', but 'being smart'! It saves me time and money. Why wouldn't I do it?! AND I get time with my friends! I'd say that's a pretty awesome deal on many levels.

I fortunately wasn't buying anything that day--just taking pictures. :)

-Ashley