15 August 2011

Profiling Coconuts on Sulawesi

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many culinary and nonculinary uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. The coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming: (i) in Sanskrit, it is "the tree which provides all the necessities of life" aka kalpa vriksha, and (ii) in the Malay language, it is "the tree of a thousand uses" aka pokok seribu guna. Near Palu on Central Sulawesi lives a local artist who carves funny coconut heads, depicting his neighbours.

people, street portrait, local artist, coconut art, hand-carved coconut head, carving coconut heads, Indonesia, Central Sulawesi, Tanjung Karang, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
coconut art, hand-carved coconut head, Indonesia, Central Sulawesi, Tanjung Karang, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
coconut art, hand-carved coconut head, Indonesia, Central Sulawesi, Tanjung Karang, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
coconut art, hand-carved coconut head, Indonesia, Central Sulawesi, Tanjung Karang, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald




24 June 2011

Reversing India's Turnaround

The back portrait aka "back shot" adds an additional perspective to the conventional front portrait, especially for street photography. The viewer of a front portrait looks at the subject from the outside, from the subject's dissociated point of view. The viewer of a back portrait looks at the world in an associated way, as if s/he is looking through the subject's eyes, into the subject's (...and the photographer's) visual world, and s/he is being seduced to play with the boundaries between internal and external expression. The vantage point from behind uncovers a long overlooked tradition of portraiture that flirts with the power of identification and mystery…

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, young Brahmins, Indian man, South India, Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, portrait, street portrait, double portrait
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, young Brahmins, Indian man, South India, Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, back portrait, portrait shot from behind, sikha
As much as the front can give away a person’s identity and characteristics, a photograph of one’s back adds an element of mystery by prompting more questions than answers. When that happens, even the most inconspicuous detail becomes worthy of observation in deciphering identity, circumstance and action.

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, groupshot, people, Indian women, South India, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, back portrait, street portrait, groupshot from behind, sari
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, groupshot, people, Indian women, South India, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Golconda Fort, street portrait, sari
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, sadhu, Indian man, Ladakh, Leh, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, Ladakhi polo
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, Hinduism, sadhu, Indian man, Ladakh, Leh, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, back portrait, portrait shot from behind, Ladakhi polo









An image of a person from the back can be both mysterious and fascinating as one doesn't see the emotions from their faces and one can only assume what they are feeling, as the three back portraits above do attest...

19 June 2011

Ogling Old Ladakhi Women

Ladakh, Northern India, has a population of c. 260,000 which is a blend of many different ethnic groups, predominantly Tibetans, Monpas and Dards. A feature of the Tibetan-Buddhist segment of Ladakh's community is the high status and relative emancipation enjoyed by women compared to other rural parts of India. Fraternal polyandry and inheritance by primogeniture were common in Ladakh until the early 1940s CE when these were made illegal by the Indian government. However, the practice remained in existence into the 1990s especially among the elderly and the more isolated rural populations.

people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Spangmik, Pangong Lake, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, double portrait, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Leh, Northern India, Ladakh, old Ladakhi woman, traditional Ladakhi hat, traditional Ladakhi costume, silk apron, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald







15 June 2011

Pacing Ladakhi Monks

Tibetan Buddhism is the main religion in Ladakh and is followed by the majority of the population; Tibetan is the spiritual language of Ladakh. Irrespective of the rugged terrain and remote inaccessible areas of Ladakh, lamas and monks passed through them and built monasteries aka gompas all over the place. There are innumerable monasteries in Ladakh, some in ruins while others are still in inhabited, running as educational and religious centres. Monasteries have for long held an important position in Ladakh. Families used to send their youngest son/s to a monastery to live and to study, knowing that the local community took care of the monks and provided food. In return the monks took care of weddings, funerals and other important ceremonies and rituals. The tradition of sending a son to a monastery also helped to control population growth. Ladakh is one of the main centres of Tibetan Buddhism outside Tibet, and is sometimes called Little Tibet.

people, street portrait, headshot, old Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, headshot, old Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, triple portrait, old Tibetan Buddhist monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Tiekse Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, triple portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, double portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Phyang Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, street portrait, double portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist monks, boy monks, Tibetan Buddhism, Tiekse Gompa monastery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, bubble gum, bubbles
people, street portrait, young Tibetan Buddhist nun, Tibetan Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist nunnery, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India, headshot, girl nun, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald






12 June 2011

Donning the Ladakhi Goncha

The Ladakhi goncha, a voluminous robe of thick woollen cloth with a colourful cummerbund tied at the waist, is the most common dress in Ladakh, Northern India; loose pyjamas, a distinctive top hat and long felt boots complete the ensemble. It is very effective to protect the people from the harsh and extreme cold weather of this region which belongs to the Himalayas. For ceremonial purposes, colourful robes in silk and brocade are worn.

people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, triple portrait, groupshot, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, traditional Ladakhi hats, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, back portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, goncha, traditional Ladakhi hats, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headdress, silver jewellery, headshot, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, headshot
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, headshot, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi man, traditional costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, double portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi women, traditional costume, silk costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Leh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, silk costume, goncha, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald




Street portrait photographs of Ladakhi people in traditional costumes in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2011-06c Chasing Ladakhi Traditions

Weighing the Ladakhi Perak

The perak is the heavy headdress typically worn by the old aristocracy in the Himalayan Ladakh region of India. It is composed of black lamb skin and a strap of leather studded with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise, covering the head like a cobra's hood and tapering to a thin tail reaching down the back. The perak is a symbol among the Ladakhis of the rank and economic status of the woman wearing it. Traditionally, the number of front-to-back rows of turquoise signifies the status of the wearer.

people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
people, portrait, street portrait, Northern India, Ladakh, Ladakhi woman, traditional costume, perak, semi-precious stones, turquoise, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald


























Street portraits of Ladakhi people in their traditional costumes in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2011-06c Chasing Ladakhi Traditions 
Street portraits of Gurung women with smaller turquoise stone crowns in Matt Hahnewald's
Flickr Album 2016-05a Circling the Annapurnas

02 June 2011

Trifling with Serious Kashmir

Kashmir is located in the northwestern region of South Asia and includes the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. The origin of the Kashmiri people is shrouded in mystery; there are various theories that have been put forward in this regard. According to one of the theories, the initial settlers in Kashmir were Aryans who migrated from Central Asia. These people were a long headed race of tall structure with narrow noses and fair complexion. Another theory of the Kashmiri descent posts that the Kashmiri people of India and Pakistan originally descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel.

Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, double portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim men
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, double portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim men
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, grey beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, people, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri man, red dyed beard, turban, Muslim people, Muslim man
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, close up, groupshot, street portrait; Northern India; Kashmir; Bhadarwah, Jai Green Valley, Kashmiri men; beard; turban; triple portrait; Muslim people;
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, close up, street portrait, Northern India, Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmiri woman, face-veiling burqa, black silk burqa, Muslim people








14 May 2011

Listening to Friendly Dravidians

Dravidians are the speakers of the Dravidian languages in South India. There are c. 220 million native speakers of Dravidian languages. The name "Dravidian" itself is from the given in Sanskrit, and may not be what the Dravidian people have historically called themselves. The Dravidian languages with the most speakers are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. It is often considered that the Dravidian languages are a close-knit family, native to all over South India between Kanyakumari and Hampi.

© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close-up, portrait, street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Kanyakumari, ghats, headshot, Hindu man, old man, pilgerer, white beard
close-up, portrait, © Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Kanyakumari, ghats, headshot, Hindu man, old man, pilgerer, conch shell
© Matt Hahnewald, Facing the World, close up, street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Rameshwaram, headshot, Hindu man, sadhu, red turban, white beard
Regardless of their mother tongue, almost all Indians love to fire immediately three nosy questions at you in English (... supposedly a typically Indian way of honouring another person):

"What is your good name?"
"What country do you belong to?"
"What is the purpose of your visit?"


The lively Chithirai Thiruvizha (a festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Chitirai) is an annual event celebrated in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India, during the month of April. It is one of the longest celebrations in the world and lasts for one month. The first 15 days of the festival are celebrated for Meenakshi and the next 15 days are celebrated for Alagar (a form of lord Mahavishnu); it's month full of opportunities to forget your official Hindi and to brush up all your Dravidian language skills.

street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Madurai, Chithirai festival, headshot, Hindu man, yellow painted face, Vishnu sign, Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald
street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Madurai, Chithirai festival, headshot, Hindu man, Vishnu sign on forehead
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Madurai, Chithirai festival, headshot, Hindu man, Vishnu sign on forehead, sunglasses, red turban
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, people, South India, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Chithirai festival, Hindu man, Dravidian people, sadhu
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, Dravidian people, South India, Tirupati, headshot, Hindu man, shorn, Vishnu sign on forehead
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, people, South India, headshot, Hindu man, beard, Dravidian people, Chidambaram, old sadhu
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, people, South India, headshot, Hindu man, beard, Dravidian people, Chidambaram, old sadhu
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, people, South India, Hinduism, Dravidian people, Karnataka woman, nose jewellery, tribal costume
Facing the World, © Matt Hahnewald, street portrait, people, South India, headshot, old Hindu man, white beard, Dravidian people, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India


























Street portraits of sadhus from Nepal in Matt Hahnewald's