Like in all things, street photography involves choices. When you are shooting something special (and, I will use the word ‘special’) like the lath-maar Holi, the choices become even more acute.
The spectacle of the women whacking the men is, I think, best photographed from a height. The crowds around the women whacking the men are difficult to photograph from street level. You are being constantly shoved around, and the lathis (let’s just call them bamboo poles) are moving fast all the time.
However, it is difficult to get a place up on top, and these gents were content to stay where they were. it kept them clean, and it gave them a decent bird’s eye view of what they were photographing. However, they could only photograph the narrow area of the street that they were stationed on, and missed the action that was happening below.
They missed the sight of people shoving, sitting under stalls, and the male-Krishna actors teasing the ladies, prior to the whacking.
On the other hand, they did not get caught in a stampede three times like I did, or feel the breath being squeezed out of them. Neither did they get shoved into a gutter like I did. However, that is part of the game.
You really cannot have it all. Sometimes, like in Nandgaon, I could go up and down, and that was brilliant.
The action here, unlike most street photography shoots that I have been on, is fast. It is really fast. No one stops, smiles and says, “Kind sir, please take the photograph that you are looking for.”
Neither do the players freeze for you, while you photograph them. The success rate can be as low as 5%, but do those 5% make up for the rest.
It is about choices.
Maybe, next time in Barsana, I will go to the rooftop