Monday, March 20, 2017

"India" by Debra Schoenberger

by Debra Schoenberger

India by Debra Schoenberger is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt, a guest post by the author, my review, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Come with me to India! From gypsies to princes, from monkeys to peacocks, I invite you to join me on my latest journey to this fascinating country.
I have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty and diversity in Indian culture. "Sensory overload in a glance" is an apt description of a country that is always in movement. To be able to stand still in the middle of all that movement allows me to really "see" her people and absorb the flow of life from birth to death.
From learning how to make yellow ink from cow urine to watching funeral pyres burn in Varanasi, I realized that I would have to spend a lifetime here to grasp the immense value of her art, stunning architecture, fascinating food and love of all that is beautiful
~ Debra Schoenberger

Book Video

View a free preview here.

Praise for the Book
My Review

By Lynda Dickson
This is a collection of more than 150 photographs taken by Debra Schoenberger at the following locations in India: Agra, Delhi, Mumbai, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Varanasi, Jojawar, Khajuraho, Japuir (misspelling of Jaipur?), and Udaipur. Most of the photographs are in color, although a few are in black and white. I viewed a pdf version of the book, which was stunning viewed in landscape mode on my iPad mini. I imagine the hardcover copy (dimensions of 10 x 8 inches) is even more captivating.
The author's short introduction is poetic in its simplicity, and I would have liked to have seen more writing like it throughout the book. Unfortunately, it is the only bit of text the author provides. There are no captions for the images, so we don't know where they were taken, and it's often difficult to ascertain their significance. The author does provide a map at the end of the book with a list of places where the images were shot, however, some of these aren't even labeled on the map. Perhaps the photos could be numbered and referenced to the locations on the map, or they could be organized in the book according to where they were taken.
The author describes herself as a street photographer, and her images are mostly of common people on the street, just going about their lives. Most of the photos are candid, although a few are posed (one being the gorgeous cover image of the girl with camels.) The photographs depict such diverse subjects as a man praying, a man sleeping outside a house, a man dying thread in the street, five women in saris seen from behind (this is my favorite photograph, the composition is spot on - see Excerpt above), a man taking a photo of the Taj Mahal with his mobile phone, a man in a barber shop, a woman selling bubble blowers, a group of women on a bridge wearing burkas, a group of young women in beautiful dresses running up stairs (why are they are dressed this way and where they are going?), a man drawing another man's portrait, a trio of girls, a woman's hennaed hand, women selling balloons, a man selling colorful bangles, others selling jewelry or toys or flowers (what is the significance of the white, yellow, and orange flowers that appear everywhere?), a taxi driver, a woman behind an umbrella, a man and woman hugging (the look on his face makes me wonder if they consented to having their photo taken), a family of four travelling on a motorbike, a man looking at his reflection in a mirror, a man pouring water off the top of a construction site, a policeman on a motorbike, a group of schoolboys looking up at the sky (what are they look at?), people washing their laundry by the river, a group of women in uniform (are they student, cadets, soldiers?), a woman sweeping an enormous set of stairs with a tiny straw broom (another favorite), a man typing in the street (is he providing a service or writing a novel?), a group of schoolgirls crossing the road, and several photos of people sleeping in the streets. Everywhere, the women are dressed in colorful clothing or saris, except for the Muslim women who wear black burkas. As you can see, the photographs raise questions that the author could have answered by writing simple captions.
There are a number of images of animals, most notably of dogs asleep in the street or resting near their masters. There are also photographs of sacred cows, cats, a mouse in a cage, a chipmunk eating out of a dirty hand (see Excerpt above), a monkey and a donkey, a tiger, and a deer.
Images of palatial buildings (I don't know any of them other than the Taj Mahal) contrast with the dilapidated apartment buildings and shops and stalls, some selling items (such as sandals, dentures, glasses, jewelry, or food) and some providing services (such as massage, laundry, barber, tailor, shoe shine).
Different modes of transportation are also depicted: crowded streets full of traffic, colorful trucks and buses, a cattle-drawn cart, people traveling by boat, train, car, tuk tuk (motorized passenger-carrying tricycle), or motorbike. A couple of photos have even been taken from the back seat of a taxi or a tuk tuk.
There are a few landscape images of the river, silhouettes of buildings against the sunset, and city sights at night with lights bringing them into focus. I found many of these photos too dark to appreciate fully.
Mundane objects as an abandoned pot, a tin of dirty paint brushes, sheets hanging on the line, dirty bicycles, a public telephone, a tangle of overhead electrical wires, and a black and white feather, are all turned into things of beauty at the hands of the photographer.
The book fittingly finishes with a couple of shots of the author/photographer herself in India (see Excerpt above). Throughout the book, she gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of ordinary Indians going about their normal lives, images most of us wouldn't see even if we were to travel to India ourselves.
A great gift idea for someone who has visited - or wishes to visit - India.

Guest Post by the Author
How to Find a Good Camera Bag for a Woman
Ok, how do you find a good-looking, practical and lightweight camera bag? These are some of the criteria l look for when I need a new bag. Since I am often on expedition in countries that aren’t considered safe, I also look for a camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag.
After a lot trial and error I finally found the perfect bag. Check out the Porteen Gear website.
I was looking for a designer who understood women photographers. The bags designed at Porteen Gear are designed and created by a professional award-winning photographer with over 10,000 photographers carrying their bags worldwide.
What’s nifty about these bags is that you can customize them.
For example, you select the Bag Builder tab and begin with the size you are looking for. Next, you have the option of choosing one of six different flaps. You are then given the option of choosing the leather and fabric to suit your taste. There is a designer box that shows you want the final product looks like. To be honest, I could spend all day designing different bags! They are all so beautiful.
My new bag is definitely an upgrade from my other padded bag because it has superior padding. My equipment often gets stuffed in overhead bins on buses and under the airplane seat and often gets several kicks during a flight. I needed something with more protection.

About the Author
Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera
My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.
I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or one of five ebook copies of India by Debra Schoenberger.