Remaining in southern India I step back in time to 1988, when I met this market lady in a street of Madurai, a large city in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Apart from painting her nails red she also wears a red bindi on her forehead. Contrary to popular belief in the West this does not indicate her caste. It's just a decoration, although it may also have a spiritual significance, for instance by symbolizing the third eye, looking inwards, to the soul.
The red powder applied to the parting of her hair is another decoration, usually showing that a woman is married.
I get the impression she was not too keen on having her photo taken, but since she didn't clearly object I just snapped the picture, thanked her and left. Of course I don't actually have any memory at all of this moment nearly 26 years ago.
I have scanned this from a Kodachrome slide. If you need a larger version you can see one here.
COSTANTINO, Royaldevon, saxo042, Tigerlily, Graal, Giustiniani, Romano46, nikkitta, gildasjan, SnapRJW, ourania, rychem, tyro, Kamilutka, kasianowak, Cricri, ricardomattos, bukitgolfb301, worldcitizen, mohammad_H, macjake, jhm, Glint, imageme, fritzi007, tatadalou, PaulVDV, adores, Wanda1, mcmtanyel, delpeoples, mayjayne has marked this note useful
Critiques | Translate
COSTANTINO (59261) 2014-04-17 7:14
Hell dear friend
breathtaking shot with excellent lightness
and sharpness this lady looks almost alive
and I have the feeling talking to her
only greetings for you and your
Royaldevon (33007) 2014-04-17 7:44
She certainly doesn't look too keen on being photographed. I wanted to photograph ladies in Pakistan, who were carrying water jugs on their heads, but they left me in no doubt that they forbade photographs! Perhaps it is, or was, part of the culture.
Never mind, you have a wonderful record of this lady in a lovely, patterned outfit, bedecked in jewellery and showing her make-up.
She is nice and sharp in the f/g but we can, also, get a good impression of her context, with lots of other sellers round about.
My warm regards,
saxo042 (37602) 2014-04-17 7:52
Hon poserar ju faktiskt rätt snyggt för bilden, armar och ben formar någon slags rektangel. En snyggt arrangerad bild med många intressant detaljer och färger, många av dem i bakgrunden.
Tigerlily (3137) 2014-04-17 8:36
Wonderful note. Tell us the story of a woman and a society.
abmdsudi (46194) 2014-04-17 8:37
Enterprising relaxed woman at work and food for thought, a frame filling colour, a lovely composition and low viewpoint which sets up good impact for the product and the seller. I feel that the bg slightly out of focus really forces the eye to look at her creating a natural working portrait. A fine shot of street life, Well done, Congrats.
Graal (99776) 2014-04-17 9:54
superb portrait and quality of scan. Amazing decorative elements on face. Very good documentary shot. I like it.
Have a nice evening.
Fis2 (89347) 2014-04-17 10:36
Curious woman, interesting face.
Good frame and super colors.
Excellent photo from street.
Very well done.
JanArie (619) 2014-04-17 11:02
Hi Gert, what a great portrait! very good composition with the posture of the lady and the green peppers in front of here.
Giustiniani (3550) 2014-04-17 11:48
un superbe portrait et une note trčs intéressante.
Romano46 (18472) 2014-04-17 13:07
la scannerizzazione ha reso un po' troppo elevato il contrasto, ma i colori restano belli anche se un po' troppo saturi, ma rimane in ogni caso l'efficacia e la bellezza del soggetto e la perfezione della ripresa.
Anche in questa vale quanto detto in precedenza sul fatto che le tue foto sono senza tempo e ripropongono ai nostri giorni temi di altri tempi che restano perō ancora attuali.
Ciao e buona serata
nikkitta (16476) 2014-04-17 13:50
I truly enjoy reading your notes and agree here txo times with you, about the red on her head because she is married and.. she is not at all happy with being the subject of your capture, you must be knelling in front of her
What you managed to obtain is a street scene full of color contrast and great sharpness
Good work and scan
mesutilgim (88484) 2014-04-17 14:12
Hello dear Gert,
What an amazing capture from your archive.
Woman is woman whereever they are. So many interesting details and what a nice gesture.
Again many interesting notes makes your entry a perfect TE entry.
TFS and bes regards
carlo62 (38000) 2014-04-17 15:06
mi ha colpito molto l'eleganza e il portamento di questa donna, una vera principessa.
Sembra vivere con molta dignitā, senza chiedersi che cosa pensano gli altri.
Periko (3531) 2014-04-17 22:07
This photo, being 26 years old, is an interesting witness of the daily life in this country. Details such as the balance and the pot on the ground, or the clothing of the woman make this photo great.
gildasjan (42204) 2014-04-18 1:58
Beau cliché du portrait de cette femme qui nous fait revivre l'époque de la photographie argentique.
UlfE (14641) 2014-04-18 3:26
En väldigt snygg och välkomponerad bild. Det är svårt att säga om hon är besvärad av att du tar en bild. Hon verkar ta det med ett upphöjt lugn och vara mån om att bevara sin värdighet. Det var nog väldigt få som brydde sig i Indien på den tiden och även senare, men nuförtiden tycker jag mig se på bilder från Indien att det har blivit svårare även där. Väldigt mycket intressanta detaljer att titta på på bilden i större format. Jag lägger särskilt märke till ringarna på tårna. Glad påsk!
dkmurphys (52201) 2014-04-18 3:28
Charming street scene. I like the simple store that she improvised there. Well taken, nice document shot.
Sergiom (66209) 2014-04-18 5:08
Un trčs beau scan d'une photo de 1988. Je ne crois pas toutefois que les choses aient bien changées depuis. Ces piments semblent bien forts pour les estomacs délicats des nord américains. Un trčs beau portrait.
SnapRJW (31625) 2014-04-18 6:01
Woman the world over like to present themselves at their 'best' Gert and the woman pictured here has made an effort with her Indian 'make-up' and western nail polish! It's a pity that her expression clearly shows her negative mood.... it seems to have chased away her femininity and she has a rather masculine look about her. It must be really hard making a living from selling a few chillies.
Nice DL scene with good vibrant colours
Enjoy the Easter weekend
ourania (35852) 2014-04-18 6:25
even if the lady wasn't too keen to have her picture taken, the result you achieved is fascinating. A large vertical frame, full of colours and interest and the lady with a strong personality tells us so much with her appearance and expression. There's abundant information all around her too and the deep view behind her adds context that promises many more colourful scenes. The chromatic consistency in a frame so full of details is stunning. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great afternoon,
Nicou (128864) 2014-04-18 8:21
Avec deux pičces sur la jutte sur le sol quel portrait de cette femme cette vendeuse de légume vert des piments je pense quel vissage et ce maquillage ce rond rouge ce deux boucle sur le nez quel regard et compo sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
rychem (27446) 2014-04-18 9:23
I am impressed with this photo of the seller, the decoration is really very interesting and your note very informative, well done
Silvio1953 (129304) 2014-04-18 11:22
Ciao Gert, great portrait of lovely woman with a lot of ornaments, intense expression, excellent clarity, fine details, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done my friend, Have a good Easter, ciao Silvio
pajaran (54536) 2014-04-18 12:02
Interesantan tekst o mestu i dami sa opisom ...
Dobar rad skeniranjem slajda, lepo pokazano mesto i trenutak sa damom, lepe boje.
Dobar rad, lepo secanje na -1988.
Prijatno vece i lepa noc, sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
An interesting article about the place and the lady with the description ...
Good work by scanning the slide nicely shown the place and the moment the lady, beautiful colors.
Good work, good memories of 1988.
Have a nice evening and night, all the best for the weekend, good luck.
tyro (21758) 2014-04-18 15:47
Again you have given us a fascinating and informative note. I did believe that the red dot at the hairline told us that the lady was married but I was not aware that the red mark worn lower down had a different significance - in fact, I'm not sure if I've ever been aware of seeing two separate red marks on Indian ladies' foreheads.
This particular lady might not have been particularly impressed by the photographer but the photographer has done a good job in capturing her quite striking pose in her colourful garments and her bright red painted nails in front of her innocent looking, though probably dreadfully fiery, chillies. And does this lady not have incredibly long fingers and toes?
A striking shot, perfectly taken against a nicely out of focus background but where we can still make out details of the extensive vegetable market.
jcpix (13810) 2014-04-18 21:22
Very interesting fact about the hair marking to indicate being married, a great learned feature that adds even more intrigue to the visual. Aside from the many colors, various products and details contained within this photo, my favorite aspect is your point of view. Getting down to the same level puts us right in touch with this individual, even if she wasn't all that keen on being photographed. :) It really makes for more of an intimate portrait and feels to tell a stronger story, rather than a quick snapshot in passing. Her lack of expression still holds emotion and was well worth your efforts. Enjoy the weekend ahead. All the best.
Subhogen (4067) 2014-04-18 22:26
A fine portrait of a very masculine looking Indian lady selling green peppers :-) Good use of DOF to maintain sharp focus on the subject and allow some details to enjoy in the BG. Her big red bindi, ornaments and dress are other attractive elements of this fine photo. Very good Dl and street photography from India 26 years ago! Thanks for sharing.
Kamilutka (8105) 2014-04-19 3:06
great portrait of the lady selling chillies, but she doesn't look to happy. Either the business on that day wasn't great or she didn't like being on the picture to much :-) Despite that the result you achieved is very good. The chillies at her feet create very strong focal point and I like how they got arranged into neat piles. The outfit and jewellery add plenty of interest to the picture but I also like the intriguing background which completes the image.
Thanks for sharing and have amazing Easter!
subhendu_bagchi (25973) 2014-04-19 4:41
A very common shot from Indian vegetables market... Presentation is beautiful with fine light and sharpness... The characteristics are almost same in villages and i n small towns till now, after 26 years of this capture. Great shot. TFS.
kasianowak (7501) 2014-04-19 5:04
You created a compelling and timeless portrait and I read your note with great interest. I like the composition with enough space to show this lady's surroundings (I love the out of focus banana seller in the background) and her merchandise.
Cricri (110627) 2014-04-19 7:22
Une expression qui ne l'avantage pas, malgré son maquillage, ces ongles vernis, ces bijoux et sa jolie tenue, une position cool devant ces épices vertes, belle scčne de vie
ricardomattos (5143) 2014-04-19 11:34
Beautiful details of this everyday scene in India. A job well done to make us know a little more about these exotic sellers.
bukitgolfb301 (37524) 2014-04-19 15:13
Hi dear Gert, how are you?
Sorry for my long no contatct with you due to several reasons. Again from your precious old archives, I like so much. Her meaningful expression is very very attractive. The situation there seems to changed dramatically, I guess.
All the best and have a good weekend! TAKERO
worldcitizen (7485) 2014-04-19 16:24
You show us another lovely view from the past, and I like the chosen title, too. :-) This woman has a strong face, and I like her jewelry and bindi. There are so many colors to enjoy here, the green chilies being among the brightest. It's a bold slice of daily life.
ajayrawat (644) 2014-04-19 22:36
Good capture in great sharpness and lovely depth of field. Often we photographers get in the trap of trying to show everything in one frame...I don't see a harm in this but usually that affects our composition.
Like in your frame I felt the top left hand side is taking prominence and lack of headroom bothers me a bit.
willperrett (8017) 2014-04-20 3:28
I'm really enjoying your vintage Kodachromes, and I expect you've got plenty more! I can see what you mean about your subject's attitude to the camera: her expression is not too welcoming as she looks askance over your shoulder. But this environmental portrait is an excellent record of a place and time, and of course, personality.
williewhistler (15405) 2014-04-20 4:49
the vibrant colours of the original slide have been retained and may even have been enhanced in your fine conversion to digital.
She does indeed appear to be a lady of some character,beautifully dressed and immaculately made up and you have managed to capture all of her charm and presence.
So much to enjoy and savour in a fine photograph.
claudeD (35043) 2014-04-20 12:04
Very fine old picture from India showing this wonderful portrait shot . Excellent colors and composition. I like your fotojob here very much.Very interesting contribution to TE.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
boa (6265) 2014-04-20 13:04
du postar i en rasande fart, iallfall jämfört med mig. De flesta av dina foton är också fina och intressanta. Det här fotot ger en utmärkt inblick i det dagliga livet som förmoligen ser likadant ut i dag på många platser i Indien. Få av mina egna foton är tagna på så här nära håll som ditt(jag önskar att jag var lite modigare med sånt)Hennes sittställning och därmed kompositionen är vacker, intressant bakgrund och en härlig reportagekänsla. En utmärkt bild i min smak!
ps.Jag antar att du inte köpte nån Chili, de ser grymt starka ut:)
mohammad_H (9726) 2014-04-21 1:56
For me it is important to learn, how we think the photographers, the lives of people of every ethnicity, race, religious beliefs
Dress, culture, customs, food, festivals and ...
The photographs and details of life fascinates me
Your good work, lovely and spectacular
emka (85179) 2014-04-21 3:52
Hi Gert, I saw the photo from Mahapalipuram, wanted to comment it a bit later but it disappeared. I liked it very much, what happened? beautiful scene from Indian market. some interesting details, not only red nails and green peppers that are rather common, but the ring on the leg and also unusual rings in the nose. I saw them once, probably in Rajasthan. interesting pose and look. And such old scales, I like them so much.
Madurai has a fantastic temple, Meenakshi. Have you visited it?
Pleasant end of Easter
macjake (60580) 2014-04-21 9:06
being a nurse I can't help but notice almost immediately the contusion on her right forearm.
she's got some pretty obvious fluid buildup that needs to be properly drained.
Putting that aside, its a wonderful capture with the womens gaze off centre. and her facial expression is priceless, as is her sitting stance.
excellent image my friend.
serp2000 (41882) 2014-04-21 9:44
Well, how much the green chilies? I see the two coins only. This pepper and another spicery are good antiseptic agents in the Indian cuisine. Outstanding portrait of the woman in interior.
eldancer1 (31387) 2014-04-21 10:19
I hope she was making enough money to support her family. Good capture of the expression on her face, something with hope for the distant future. Good lighting and nice details with wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
photographer_sg (4410) 2014-04-21 22:29
this is a superb picture of daily life with so many fascinating details and lovely vibrant colours. though this is a common scene for us in India, your depiction takes the viewing experience to a whole new level!
my compliments and thanks for sharing this wonderful daily life picture.
fabbs99 (16815) 2014-04-21 23:53
Great old portrait of the lady from the 80s.TFS.
jhm (143445) 2014-04-22 5:14
Your remains in your archive, and find the most beautiful pictures.
This portrait of these lady is very nice with the older colours.
Excellent composition, with a good sharpness and clarity.
Very well done, TFS.
Glint (6171) 2014-04-22 15:17
this is a smasher! Besides the wonderful colours and your subjects' rather unhappy countenance I like the composition. She takes up much of the frame, but not so much that we cannot see what else is going on nearby, the context of the market. I also like the diagonal line from knee to knee.
amaryllis (35597) 2014-04-25 5:56
tu nous présentes un portrait et une attitude de cette femme devant son étal, presque posant pour la circonstance et voire męme indifférente , toujours des vętements de couleurs, les doigts avec vernis, des femmes qui sont élégantes
ton cadrage est excellent
rigoletto (34269) 2014-04-25 15:37
so glad to see such a striking photo receives its 50th appreciation. as a digital "kid", i have no idea about kodachrome and its scan, but anything could be done for the green/yellow cast?
imageme (1790) 2014-04-26 15:01
Hi Gert, Detail description on this woman in red with nice green chilies in front of her for nice colour contrasts. It is always nice to understand the customs of the other cultures. Your posts are worth to view and they are very educational. Thank for sharing
fritzi007 (8410) 2014-04-26 15:07
interessantes Foto von Menschen auf der Strasse, sehr gute Information, gratuliere!
tatadalou (7033) 2014-05-08 6:58
Another good oldie, with this beautiful portrait of this woman. The photo is full of colours and depicts with kindness a dailylife scene.
PaulVDV (24191) 2014-05-20 10:57
A splendid portrait and a very beautiful and colourful market scene.
The posture that this woman took, was in fact very inviting to take a picture.
Although her facial expression said something different.
Best regards, Paul
adores (40354) 2014-05-26 15:15
This is another great portrait and it kept its quality! You managed to get a very good pov and her pose and expression are fabulous. There are so many nice details to see here. Besides her, I really like the two coins and the peppers so well displayed in little piles. Great capture with the other sellers in the blurred background.
Wanda1 (15000) 2014-07-02 8:18
You really have experienced so much and so many places, and I find it a fascinating journey looking at all your old photographs. This is a great market portrait. I like her look and the way she is sitting as well as her neat piles of chillies. A timeless image, as scenes like this are still to be seen in India today.
mcmtanyel (16001) 2014-07-06 19:50
This is another iconic photo. I like the selective focus that renders the woman in full detail while everything else is mellow and blurry. Excellent color and a good job scanning.
delpeoples (54659) 2014-07-16 4:48
This photo has stood the test of time. More than 20years old and it looks as fresh and compelling today as it would have then. I love how the green vegetables are displayed in front of your subject, adding a sense of character and daily life, aswell as being a superb contrast to the warm colours of her costume. I also like how she looks away from the camera, rather than directly down the lens barrel. It gives her a very pensive, unreachable look. Superb photo, I wonder what has become of this lady and I hope she is happy and well.
mayjayne (4495) 2014-08-06 9:28
This is a very interesting street shot that reveals so the typical everyday life scenes about India. A very meaningful shot.