In 1988 I made a journey to southern India, visiting the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. While in Kerala I made a trip through the so called backwaters, a long series of rivers, lakes and canals protected from the sea by low barrier islands and reefs along the mouths of the large number of rivers crossing the state.
Today the Kerala backwaters are among the major tourist destination of India. Most visitors travel by houseboats, kettuvallam, basically copied from the famous houseboats of Dal Lake in Kashmir. According to a site I found on the internet the houseboats were first introduced in Kerala in 1991, which explains why I had never heard of any, and didn't see any, in 1988.
Instead I travelled by an ordinary boat looking mainly like a floating bus, stopping at a number of small villages along the route. This jetty was one of those places where we stopped briefly to pick up or drop off passengers.
In a workshop is a closer view of the boat with the faded yellow and blue sail. Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.
Here is a larger version.
Critiques | Translate
npecanhuk (66324) 2014-03-23 9:45
Lovely daily life photograph!
I specially enjoyed its colors, vertical format, management of light and composition!
TFS - congrats,
Romano46 (18466) 2014-03-23 9:45
un'altra delle tue vecchie immagini che sembra siano sempre attuali e senza tempo.
Dopo 26 anni questa immagine, se non fosse per la diversa qualità dell'immagine che ovviamente perde all'atto della scannerizzazione, sembra rappresentare ancora la realtà di oggi.
Credo di possa dire tranquillamente che le tue foto quasi sempre sono senza tempo e resistono al suo passare.
Ciao e buona serata
rychem (23994) 2014-03-23 9:53
Beautiful photo, very nice daily life scene, I like this sail and the family waiting for a coming boat
tyro (20696) 2014-03-23 10:06
You have presented a lovely pair of photographs and, as always, a fascinating note.
Again I am impressed by the wonderful "openness" which can be seen in the faces of all the individuals in these pictures - very much at variance with the rather severe and inscrutable looks you have received from people in places like Afghanistan, Turkey and other Arab lands. These people appear content with life and hard working too, judging by the boatman in your workshop picture.
Two beautiful scenes, very well captured and with wonderful human interest too. Beautifully colourful and of amazingly good quality considering that these again were scanned from "good old" Kodachrome slides.
Silvio1953 (123561) 2014-03-23 10:12
Ciao Gert, nice scene with lovely family, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
emilbo (22616) 2014-03-23 10:18
Merci de nous montrer des photos d'ailleurs qui sont vraiment intéressantes. Une belle découverte dans tes archives et beau travail de scan. Tous les éléments sont intéressants et bonne disposition des personnages.
photographer_sg (4402) 2014-03-23 10:28
This is such a fine and perfectly natural picture of rural Kerala. The daily life of the rural population of India has undergone some change in the recent past but such a scene is not uncommon even today. Lovely picture full of life and warmth.
thanks for sharing and have a nice evening.
boa (6075) 2014-03-23 10:37
det är intressant att se ögonblick från dina resor, den här gången till Indien. Det ser ut som personerna på bilden letar efter någon bekant på båten, eller också skulle de också följa med. Hursomhelst så blev det ju ett utmärkt foto av det hela när flera personer var med på bild. Vattnet ser ju inte så jätterent ut direkt, fast man förväntar sig ju inte det i Indien heller. Badade du här?
Snyggt ljus och färger i den här bilden, intressant också med båten i bakgrunden, det seglet har nog varit med en stund:)
carlo62 (33793) 2014-03-23 10:46
il tuo archivio continua a sfornare immagini di una attualità incredibile.
Questa famiglia ha le stesse abitudini e gli stessi colori di una famiglia odierna nella stesse condizioni.
Avevi fatto un ottimo lavoro e la sua attualità ne è la conferma ancora oggi.
PaulVDV (22721) 2014-03-23 10:48
The advantage of taking the ordinary boat is that local people hop on and off and this brings you closer to their daily life and gives you the opportunity to have a better look at the various mooring places.
I was wondering what the brown heap was on the main picture but I found the answer in the workshop.
The many repairs of the large sail give it a certain charm.
When I was travelling in India (one month in 1994 and a second month in 1995) there was no question of BRIC-countries or of emerging markets. So definitely not in 1988. I wonder how much this country might have changed meanwhile.
Best regards, Paul
RhodieIke (11742) 2014-03-23 11:07
This is fantastic and from a slide, the sail looks like it has been through some rough river trips.Lots to see and wonder at, from the lad having a wash to the family on the pier, and the guy looking on from the side.
saxo042 (37578) 2014-03-23 11:12
En varm och färgglad bild. En intressant farkost med ett stort sprisegel, kunde nästan ha varit en blekingseka som jag seglade med i lumpen i Karlskona en gång i tiden. Fast detta är ju knappast i Blekinge... Men en fin bild med liv och rörelse.
Subhogen (4065) 2014-03-23 11:21
Fantastic DL life scene from the backwaters of Kerala. This looks like a still from a old South Indian movie. Good moment captured here with this family waiting at the jetty for the ferry or perhaps to bid their men folk farewell. This is a picture of the back water at its natural best, unpolluted by the hordes of tourist boats. The worn out sail has formed a nice backdrop for the family. I like the various enjoyable elements so characteristic of the backwater that you were able to capture in this frame. Excellent once again, thanks for sharing.
mesutilgim (85420) 2014-03-23 11:57
Hello dear Gert,
Can never get anough seeing your captures of seventies and eighties with those nice warm colors ! I used to call than the greens of Kodak : spinach green, the reds of Agfa, tomato red . Only Ektachrome supplied me with correct colors but at times where I was a student I had only Money for Agfa, Perutz or Ferraniacolor which were cheaper than Kodak ! But when I had enough Money, I didn't have enough time !!
This entry (wit many interesting notes) is also a perfect journalistic success.
TFS and best regards
ACL1978 (7491) 2014-03-23 13:36
Hello Gert - there's a sense here of this family about to embark on a great adventure, all looking with anticipation toward a distant horizon. Of course it's something as simple as waiting for a ferry, but the expressions suggest more. Great color - and what a sail that is! It dwarfs its boat, it appears. Less so, perhaps, in your excellent WS, but here it dominates. Thanks!
shreya2000 (1186) 2014-03-23 21:52
Nice daily life pic on the water. Your note is equally good. colurs and contrast is OK. Well composed.
emka (79875) 2014-03-23 23:36
hello Gert, Nice view from Kerala as it was many years ago. I went there by this kettuvallam, such for tourists, and it was the highlight of my trip to South India twelve years ago. It was marvelous to go very slowly along the canals and observe the life on the shore. The whole trip we were very careful about the eating and then we observed the cook washed the dishes just in the water from canal, where the people washed. But strange enough it was ok with our stomachs. But to go just with ordinary boat must be ven more exciting, to be closer to life.
Interesting photo from older times. The people seem very interested to see a stranger.
Warm regards MAlgo
Nicou (123236) 2014-03-24 2:38
encore une sueprb eiamge nostalgique mervielleux avec ces voiles de bâteaux colorés en fond et ces eprsonnage ces jeune sur le ponton de bois quelle belle scène et vue.
Bravo et amitié
Apurba20 (984) 2014-03-24 3:07
A very beautiful pic. The family, the bathing boy and the sail present a beautiful picture. Not to the forget the small jetty where the boat is arriving.
SnapRJW (31435) 2014-03-24 4:45
You have been so fortunate Gert; travelling all over the world and seeing places before the commercialisation of tourism became prevalent. Your shot conveys a sense of what this, now well-known area, was like before the rice boats became something most people would associate with Kerala's backwaters.
I love the make do and mend sail, it tells me a lot about the lifestyle of the people.
Kamilutka (8095) 2014-03-24 5:31
as always I have read your note with interest and the picture is one of these which you can explore for really long dwelling on all the details. The scene you captured here is quite amazing: the family standing on the little pier, the man taking a bath in muddy water and a boat with a very home made sail. There is also exotic background with palm trees and some house showing up as well. Very diversified composition and perfectly framed.
Thanks for sharing
jhm (140054) 2014-03-24 5:53
You remain in your old archive looking, and find always a very nice picture.
These picture is very nice again with these family middle of the green area.
Sharpness and clarity are very pleasant.
Excellent captured, nice presentation.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice workweek,
imageme (1767) 2014-03-24 8:39
Hi Gert, Vivid colours of this image despite from scanner. Wonderful captured moment of this daily life with the family members anxiously waiting for the boat. Best regards
ourania (32083) 2014-03-24 8:44
this is a lovely scene that feels significant too. Although it's in colour, it reminds me of old black and white documentaries or scenes from films that showed exotic places and, despite the facts they cited, they always looked fascinatingly mysterious to me. This has, in my opinion, the allure of a monochrome, maybe because of the chromatic consistency that I like very much. Light, colours and shadows are great. I also like that the photo has recorded a brief interruption in the people's daily activities and that they seem to be as curious as we are while looking at them. The workshop picture is superb too. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
pajaran (52602) 2014-03-24 12:04
Interesantan i dobar tekst o mestu i trenutku sa opisom ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem slajda, lepo pokazano mesto i trenutak, lepa fotografija u radionici.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje u novoj nedelji koja je pocela, srecno.
Interesting and good article about the place and time of the description ...
Good work by scanning the slide shown good place and moment, beautiful pictures in the workshop.
Good evening and all the best in the new week that started, good luck.
Fis2 (86283) 2014-03-24 13:20
Very impressive picture!
Royaldevon (30225) 2014-03-24 15:44
You have some wonderful memories, obviously revived by these delightful photographs.
The landing stage does look very substantial, as it would need to be if this acted like a bus stop!
I am intrigued by the contrast in the clothes of the figures. Most appear to be in what you might term traditional attire, whilst the two young boys are dressed in very modern, western attire; all are shoeless.
A very nicely composed shot, with a strong f/g triangle and lots of contextual details. I'm amazed at how well these have scanned.
My warm regards,
abmdsudi (43718) 2014-03-24 21:53
A nice everyday shot something about people's lives and depiction of Indian life by the waterway, an experience in a part of our world. There's some good detail and colours pulling the eye right in there. Wonderful contrast too with all those little things go together really well; the boat's sail, mount of coconut husks and people's interaction create good interests all round. Excellent photo journalism, Congrats.
kato (11630) 2014-03-24 23:01
You're capturing well this place by a good composition and excellent tone, so it's interesting and impressive to see the vitality of a life of residents and backwater with greenery and soil's mountain. You also catch well the spectacle whitch there is person who is bathing himself, and there is a family who is gazing at that direction by the landing.
lousat (77804) 2014-03-25 2:54
Hi Gert,a beautiful scene,remember me a lot my srilankan trip in 1994,same people,same colors and scenery,magnificent and rich composition and the usual excellent scannering work,there and in the nice WS too,i like it! Have a nice day and thanks,LUCIANO
mirosu (14512) 2014-03-25 6:04
Nice daily life photo. You have captured the local people from excellent POV. As I can see they are very pleased about your taking photo of them.
Another excellent scanning result.
Very well done.
COSTANTINO (56223) 2014-03-25 7:19
here we are again with another original and
unique shot from you a real treasure of
traditions and originality
one shot is one story
thanks for sharing your thoughts with us
have a nice evening
everlasting (14676) 2014-03-25 8:10
Although this was taken in 1988 it looks very familiar to me, we travelled through the backwaters on a public bus as you describe in 1976, is is just as I remember.
subhendu_bagchi (25818) 2014-03-25 9:05
you done it well again. Another very good daily life shot and this time from the God's own country. Excellent photo quality despite of losses happened by the scan... Nice expressions on the faces at bank. Excellent presentation. Tfs.
UlfE (14641) 2014-03-25 14:14
En mycket bra bild med barnen väl placerade i bilden och det är samtidigt bra att du få med seglet på båten i sin helhet. Jag tror också att några av barnen ser fotografen och är roade av att bli fotograferade. De kunde nog inte föreställa sig att bilden skulle bli "synlig" för hela världen 26 år senare. Ha en bra kväll!
mohammad_H (9468) 2014-03-26 5:29
Beautiful colors, and I think India is the country of colors, a variety of attractive colors and everyday life of the family, And archiving your beautiful, rich old photo Valuable work of the customs of different nations
Have a nice day
kasianowak (6849) 2014-03-26 14:00
Interesting to see Kerala before it became such a popular tourist destination, it's almost unbelievable there was a time when there were no houseboats there! I like the WS image a lot too.
Sounds like a fascinating journey.
fabbs99 (16477) 2014-03-27 22:38
Good old shot from the southern peninsula state of India.The family looks like waiting for the boat to come.Good colors and nice texture.TFS.
eldancer1 (28513) 2014-03-29 7:39
When I look at old photos I always wonder what happened to those people. Nice capture of this family with the children looking like well taken care of. Good dof with nice details and wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
cornejo (32168) 2014-03-30 10:04
Hello Gert, very good view of this interesting and beautiful scene of daily life in the river bank, very well captured in this interesting photo. Interesting picture with good sharpness, light and color. Very good and nice job perfectly done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.
Good evening and happy start to the week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
nikkitta (14858) 2014-03-31 15:32
You are quite right about backwaters, some days ago met with a friend that visited Kerala some months ago and she was proud of showing me ( Ipad photos) the backwater where she traveled, also some giant fishnets
Like this capture for the kind way people is looking at you, also one at the very back
Well done, way to trave, composition and scann
ChrisJ (99260) 2014-04-03 5:22
A superb daily life scene from Kerala in south India with vibrant colour and good warm cold color contrasts and saturation. Excellent sharpness and punchy light contrasts. The diagonal pier adds dynamism and perspective. The coconut palms enhance the tropical atmosphere. Tfs!
Tigerlily (3107) 2014-04-17 9:00
I see the boat at the background, you didn't travel with this kind of boat, did you? I wonder what the sand look like(on the right)was for... Thanks Gert for your photos.
mcmtanyel (14123) 2014-05-06 23:07
Another historical gem. Showing life in India candidly, this photo is much more informative than just another one of the Taj or some other oft-photographed landmark. TFS!
wolf38 (31282) 2014-06-06 22:37
Hello Gert. The backwaters are a true feast for the eyes, if you are traveling by boat in this labyrinth of waterways. Here you can watch the people in their daily activities and enjoy the scenery. The photo reminds me of my stay in this area in March 1999.