Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

8 December 2008

Faces.

Not so long ago, a friend and I were discussing the joys of blogging, when, unexpectedly, this friend turned on me and accused me of making my blog on Shimla ''isolationist''. He said that I had, with the exception of perhaps one picture and one post, never really shown what was - to him - the most interesting aspect of Shimla: its people.
I am not certain that this was not a conscious decision on my part to exclude the wonderful denizens of my adopted home-town. A large part of my Shimla experience has been defined by the people who inhabit it - their warmth, their lack of prejudice in welcoming a relative stranger to their midst and the simplicity which marks the human interface here, has added a richness to my life which my other adopted home-town Bombay could never do.
That said, I must also rush to add that I have a natural aversion for the ''human zoo'' approach: of photography which becomes a sort of "'ethnological exposition'' emphasising their difference from all other human beings due to a difference in race, or clothing or culture or something like that.
It was this dilemma that has stopped me from taking and posting photographs of people in Shimla, and nothing else.
My ideas on this are still in a state of flux. Let us see if this quandary will find resolution.
Meanwhile....
Children are a fascinating species. Observing them is a thoroughly enjoyable activity, principally because they haven't yet learned to wear masks or haven't yet developed facades or pretensions which will 'protect' them from the world. For me, the greatest quality of childhood is the sense of wonder with which it looks at everything around. dewdrops are miracles, butterflies are adventures to be chased, flowers are to be smelled and left behind in a jiffy...
So, placed below are two pictures I took recently. I hope they will speak to you as they did to me. I would love to hear your reactions....



5 comments:

Dick Richards said...

"a natural aversion for the ''human zoo'' approach"

Me too! Plus, obtaining photo releases to avoid legal entanglements. Plus, invasion of privacy issues. And so forth...

On the other hand, the pics of the kids are great.

Feel the ambivalence?

Gallimaufry said...

I do, Dick! I feel it on two grounds. One, with regard to people: they are *fun* to photograph because they offer such a range of emotions. Two: in the two pictures I selected; the first: of two little girls with joyous carefree expresions; the second: of two little boys, street urchins, who'd found something interesting in a city dust-bin & were examining it with great avidity....
No flower, no building has given me the satisfaction that photographing these kids did...
I'm the Queen of Ambivalence!

LivinginOz said...

I agree with you in regards to the Human Zoo. I love seeing photos of every day life, but people as a part of the scene, and not individuals as the focus of the scene.

Egads, I hope that made sense.

dickrichards said...

LivingOz -- I do get what you mean. Many of my best photos are street scenes -- many or several people just going about their business. I do get nervous about publishing them though.

Gallimaufry said...

This issue gets further complicated when you live in a country like India. I can understand the outsiders' fascination for the ''differentness'' of some of my countrymen (&women). But somehow, this search for exotica - to me - robs the objects of the photography of dignity....

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