Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are learning about The people of India in the town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Many places in Rajasthan today evoke a feeling of its historic past. Historically centered in Rajasthan, the Rajputs were once a proud warrior caste with a passionate belief in the dictates of chivalry, both in battle and in state affairs. In this photograph, the ambiance photography captures the essence of the people of India, showcasing a proud Rajasthani in the pilgrimage town of Pushkar, a town located in Rajasthan, India.
Many places in Rajasthan today evoke a feeling of its historic past. Historically centered in Rajasthan, the Rajputs were once a proud warrior caste with a passionate belief in the dictates of chivalry, both in battle and in state affairs. In this photograph, the ambiance photography captures the essence of the people of India, showcasing a proud Rajasthani in the pilgrimage town of Pushkar, a town located in Rajasthan, India.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on June 26, 2024

The people of India

In a silent moment on a late afternoon, this Rajasthani man lights up a cigarette near the Pushkar Lake in Pushkar, India. The people of India in this pilgrimage town are often camel herders and many places in Rajasthan offer camel safaris, a popular tourist activity that can last from an hour to several days. The beautiful desert area around Pushkar is inhabited by nomadic tribes and a camel safari can also be a cultural and photographic experience to remember, perfect for capturing the essence of ambiance photography.

What is ambience in photography?

Ambiance in photography is the art of conveying the mood, atmosphere and emotion of a scene through visual elements. It is what transforms a simple snapshot into a powerful narrative, evoking feelings and memories in the viewer. Understanding and capturing ambiance can elevate your photography, allowing your images to resonate more deeply with your audience.

A photographic journey in India
India, a land of remarkable diversity and rich cultural heritage, is a mosaic of colors, traditions and stories. From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene landscapes of Pushkar, the country offers an endless array of photographic opportunities. Through the lens of a foreign traveling photographer, the people of India present an intriguing and dynamic subject, each frame capturing a unique aspect of their lives and it is the ambiance that is the intangible essence that envelops a scene, where it is the combination of light, color, composition and context that creates a specific mood or feeling. Whether it is the serene tranquility of a foggy morning, the vibrant energy of a bustling street market or the haunting stillness of an abandoned building, ambiance is what breathes life into your photographs.

"Light is the most crucial element in creating ambiance. The quality, direction and intensity of light can dramatically alter the mood of a photograph. Golden hour light, with its warm, soft tones, can imbue a scene with a sense of peace and nostalgia. Harsh midday sunlight might evoke a feeling of intensity or harshness, while the cool, diffuse light of a cloudy day can create a somber or introspective mood. Experimenting with different lighting conditions helps photographers understand how light affects ambiance"

The vibrancy of Indian streets
Walking through the streets of India is an experience like no other and the cacophony of sounds, the riot of colors and the sheer energy of the people create a vibrant tapestry. Street vendors peddling their wares, children playing amidst the chaos and women in bright 'Saris' haggling in the market all offer a glimpse into the everyday life of Indians. The streets are alive with stories, each individual contributing to the collective narrative of their community.

Composition and perspective
The way a photograph is composed can influence the ambiance significantly. Composition involves the arrangement of elements within the frame, guiding the viewer's eye and creating a sense of balance or tension. Leading lines, framing and the rule of thirds are tools that can direct attention and enhance the mood. Perspective, whether it is a wide-angle shot that captures the vastness of a landscape or a close-up that focuses on intricate details, also shapes the viewer's emotional response to the image.

The context in which a photograph is taken plays a vital role in establishing ambiance. The setting, background and surrounding elements provide clues about the environment and help tell a story. A lone figure walking through a desolate urban landscape might evoke feelings of isolation or contemplation, while a group of people laughing together in a cozy café can convey warmth and friendship. Understanding the context allows photographers to capture the essence of a scene more effectively.

People and their expressions are powerful conveyors of ambiance. Candid moments, genuine emotions and natural interactions can add depth and authenticity to a photograph. Capturing the subtleties of human emotion – joy, sorrow, surprise or contemplation – can create a strong connection between the image and the viewer. Portraits that reflect the subject's environment and mood can be particularly evocative.

Faces of tradition and modernity
India is a country where tradition and modernity coexist in a fascinating harmony. In rural areas, age-old customs and lifestyles remain largely unchanged. A photograph of a farmer tilling his land with oxen or a woman drawing water from a well, encapsulates a way of life that has persisted for centuries. Conversely, urban centers like Bangalore and Delhi showcase India's rapid modernization. Young professionals engrossed in their smartphones, modern skyscrapers towering over ancient temples and bustling tech hubs reflect the country's embrace of the new while honoring the old.

Religious diversity and spirituality
Religion plays a central role in the lives of many Indians and this spiritual fervor is vividly captured through photography. The solemnity of a Hindu priest performing rituals by the Ganges, the serenity of Buddhist monks in meditation, the vibrant celebrations of Sikh festivals and the reverent prayers in mosques illustrate the religious mosaic of India. Each photograph not only depicts the practice of faith but also the profound sense of community and identity that religion imparts to the people.

Festivals with a riot of colors and emotions
Indian festivals are a photographer's paradise, offering a riot of colors and emotions. 'Holi', the festival of colors, sees people drenched in vibrant powders, their faces alight with joy and abandon. 'Diwali', the festival of lights, transforms the night into a spectacle of glowing lamps and fireworks and these celebrations are not just visually stunning but also deeply emotional, capturing moments of collective euphoria, familial bonds and cultural pride.

Portraits of resilience
Amidst the beauty and vibrancy, India also presents stories of resilience and strength and it is the faces of hardworking men and women, whether they are toiling in the fields, driving rickshaws or weaving intricate textiles, that reflect a spirit of perseverance. Their eyes often tell stories of struggle and endurance, yet they also reveal hope and determination. These portraits are a testament to the indomitable human spirit that thrives in the face of adversity.

The innocence of childhood
Children in India are a delightful subject, their innocence and curiosity bringing a fresh perspective to the photographer's viewfinder. Whether it's a group of boys playing cricket in a dusty alley, a girl with kohl-lined eyes peeking shyly from behind her mother or siblings sharing a candid moment of laughter, these images capture the pure, unfiltered joy of childhood. The exuberance and spontaneity of children add a touch of magic to the photographic journey through India.

"The people of India, with their diverse cultures, traditions and stories, offer a rich tapestry for any traveling photographer. Each photograph taken in this vast and varied land is a window into a different world, revealing the beauty, complexity and depth of Indian society. Through the lens of a foreign photographer, the essence of India's people is captured in a way that celebrates their individuality while also highlighting the shared humanity that binds them together"

Spirit of Rajasthan in Pushkar
Rajasthanis are the people from the Indian state of Rajasthan and they are known for their vibrant culture, colorful costumes and love of music and dance. Rajasthanis are also known for their hospitality and warm welcome to visitors and this region of the country has a unique and ancient culture, which is reflected in the clothing, architecture and art of the people. The traditional clothing of Rajasthanis includes vibrant, colorful dresses known as 'Ghaghra-cholis' and 'Dhotis'. Women often wear intricate jewelry, such as 'Bangles' and earrings and the men often wear turbans. Rajasthanis are well-known for their love of music and dance. From traditional folk songs to the energetic rhythms of Bollywood, music is an important part of life. Dances such as 'Ghoomar', 'Kalbeliya' and 'Bhavai' are popular and are often performed at weddings and festivals.

"The people of Rajasthan are also known for their hospitality and visitors are welcomed into the homes of Rajasthanis and offered delicious traditional dishes such as 'Dal-Bhati-Churma', 'Panchmel ki Daal' and 'Missi Roti'. Rajasthanis are proud of their heritage and culture and work to preserve it. From the traditional music and dance to the vibrant colors of the costumes, the culture of Rajasthanis is unique and captivating"

See this video about Pushkar in Rajasthan in Varanasi made by India To Bharat.

A mystical oasis in Rajasthan
"- Ambiance in photography is closely tied to storytelling. Every photograph has the potential to tell a story and the ambiance helps to set the stage and evoke the desired response. Think about the narrative you want to convey and use the elements of light, color, composition and context to build that story. Whether it's a single image or a series of photographs, storytelling through ambiance can leave a lasting impact on the viewer. Mastering the art of capturing ambiance in photography takes practice, observation and a keen understanding of how different elements interact to create mood. By paying attention to light, color, composition, context and emotion, photographers can create images that not only capture a moment in time but also evoke powerful feelings and tell compelling stories. Ambiance is the invisible thread that weaves through your photographs, turning them into a rich tapestry of visual poetry", the Photographer says.

"- From the moment I arrived in Pushkar, it felt unlike anywhere else I had visited in Rajasthan. This ancient city, one of the holiest on the planet, exudes a unique charm that captivates the soul. Let me share my experiences and impressions of this remarkable place. Pushkar is a beautiful small city, painted in pastel shades, with white and baby blue dominating the landscape. The numerous rooftops offer excellent viewpoints, where you can soak in the serene atmosphere. Despite its spiritual significance, Pushkar feels surprisingly laid-back – for India, at least", the Photographer says again.

"- Legend has it that Pushkar was created when Brahma, the creator of the universe, triumphed over a demon using only a lotus flower. The fallen lotus flower became Pushkar Lake and to this day, devout Hindus visit this sacred spot at least once in their lifetime. The mystical vibe permeates the air, inviting introspection and reverence. Turn a corner and you might encounter a camel sauntering down the street. Pushkar seamlessly blends the spiritual with the everyday. The city's rooftops provide panoramic views of the surrounding hills, the desert sands and the bustling streets below. It's a place where spirituality meets adventure, where the mundane and the mystical intertwine. Pushkar remains etched in my heart – a memory of colors, camels and contemplation
", the Photographer says again.

Read also:  Pushkar Lake in India

Pushkar Lake in India

Read also:  Pushkar Lake in India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a smoking man in Pushkar. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.