Celeste van Rooyen - Photography

I n d i a


I regularly spot travel images from India as so many photographers loves going to India for photography expeditions.
I can surely see why!

The people, the colours, the story, life…..

Not sure why I suddenly felt so tempted to tell my visual India story in black and white, as black and white surely does not do this colorful street life any justice.

Even in the shadow of severe poverty, the streets were filled with the most beautiful colours, movements and patterns from the women’s delicate sari’s.

Yes, and even in the shadow of poverty, the peoples faces was still smiling, eyes talking and hearts filled with humanity.

Especially with my love of materials, uniqueness and individuality, this is what I wanted to capture:  The graciousness of still keeping tradition combined with the daily struggle of survival.

Not sure if it was my blond hair or my camera, ha ha, but as soon as I arrived in the side streets, I was surrounded by kids.
And I mean:  alot of kids, as news about me was obviously spreading like fire. They did not necessarily wanted me to
take pics of them. They were just curious….. and more importantly: happy to smile for my clicking camera.

This is yet another culture with so many traditions, food flavours and beliefs to learn and absorb…..
Like the infamous shaking of the head whilst talking…

But for now I want to focus on that red dot on the people’s forehead.

Ever wondered what that red dot, (aka bindi) is for?

Well, after chatting to many people, it seems to me that nowadays the young ladies wear the Bindi as a traditional fashion statement.

It’s a Hindu tradition that was originally worn only by married women.

There is another red mark to be found on the frontal hairline of women and this for sure is a sign of a married women.

If the men has a mark on their foreheads, it means that they have just visited the holy place.

It was heartbreaking to return to the luxury of our hotel just around the corner of the slumps, where I had plenty of water in a marble covered bathroom and access to the most amazing
Kingfisher local beer in a 5 star restaurant.

Luxury just felt wrong.

Enjoy my images of my afternoon in Kokata (aka *Calcutta / *the city of Mother Theresa), that started
out as a shopping expedition in the search of Sari materials and ended in an afternoon walk in one of the side streets around the corner from my hotel.

Feel free to share your India experiences and what you think.

india 2

india 5

indie 10



seemed like this one tried to run in front of the cam every time I tried to take a pic…



The palm reader:


kolkata 2

india 4



the sari sales lady:

india calcutta-1a

indie 3

indie 5


The hairdresser:





The hotel:




indie 2

india blog

2 comments to I n d i a

  • Great capture of life & colors … my favorite one is last photo of the old lady in yellow-blue sari.

    Best part of being a photographer is that you can put a smile on anybody’s face … and that’s what I really love. Hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish my photography adventure trip in coming months :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s such an inspiration !


  • Laurentia

    Hi Celesti

    India suddenly seems a lot more appealing – your pictures are great. Thanks for sharing!

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