I attended an outdoor drama performance in a temple in Karambitan village a couple of nights ago. Drama is as an integral part of Balinese culture as dance, and the two are often intertwined in temple ceremonies.
This is Rangda - one of the two main characters in the barong play. Rangda is a child-eating demon queen who leads an army of evil witches against the forces of good.
She is said to haunt graveyards, feed on corpses, and at night fly through villages, trailing her entrails, trying to find pregnant women to suck their babies' blood.
As we were watching the drama performance, a group of local kids were sitting on the ground close to the action, but when Rangda appeared, they all ran away!
Part of the performance featuring Rangda was presented with the lights off, and I wondered whether some of the kids might be having nightmares that night.
(Note to Tan [capthaddock] – this is what you’d be dreaming if you had eaten any of those mushrooms on the Gili Islands).
No flash photography was allowed during the performance, so this was shot at ISO-1600.
I’ve posted a wide shot of the temple courtyard where the performance took place in the Workshop here
– just after Rangda had ‘killed’ a couple of the good guys (they were later resuscitated with holy water).
The Workshop post is a more traditional travel photo, but as it is quite noisy from the high ISO, I thought this close-up of Rangda (cropped from a 120 mm focal length shot) would make a better main post.
Critiques | Translate
riclopes (35577) 2008-07-26 3:48
Hmmm, he's quite scary indeed, David. No wonder why the kids ran away, specially if they were so close as I see it here. I prefer this detail, but I think the other general view would be best as the main post. It gives an important context and it has also better details, colors and lighting - and the grain is not too bad. This is dramatic and I like it, but it's not so impressive as a picture - I might have cropped the left side so he would have a stronger presence in the composition. Very interesting post as usual.
kiwi_explorer (12209) 2008-07-26 3:51
This looks like Halloween.... scary sight. You've captured the shot well without flash giving the scene that ghostly atmosphere. You've described the occasion well to make viewing the image more interesting. Well done! tfs
kschanna (6) 2008-07-26 5:38
This shot has an eerie attraction to it, very interesting. I think you have a complete documentary of the phenomenon here, with the shot and the workshop tohether,
very well captured.
Polonaise (5802) 2008-07-27 12:04
Quite a departure from your usual stuff, David...
This is rough, man...
And I love every bit of it...
My very private ( and highly articulate) theory about the good photographer...
If you are good - you are good no matter what !
No matter of theme...No matter of place.. No matter of subject...
You are good e' basta !
All the best, good buddy
capthaddock (28790) 2008-07-28 16:05
Ha ha! Indeed this is an exotic nightmare, more often seen (even without the mushrooms) on 18-hour long cramped airless minibus rides across the Sumatran countryside along the bumpiest roads without proper bathroom breaks,(aah, the Sumatran toilets, that is a nightmare worthy of a feature length film, photos can never do them justice:-). Excellent note as usual.
andante (7092) 2008-08-03 15:19
Hate when great shots like this get so many visits and so little comments. It is a very artistic and the approach shows the diversity of your talent. Superb job,
quillo (11856) 2009-01-24 7:45
Hello David an image with a lot of force and of big visual impact, the movement and the short plane of the ballet dancer does of your photo a very effective work, the result of the work is very good and I like much.
Congratulations friend and thank you.
Un abrazo, hasta pronto.
jmcl (14535) 2010-01-27 20:18
Love the way the grit and motion of the exposure go with the mood and moment of the scene ... Do you by chance know the music of Lou Harrison ??? one of the first Western composers to combine Gamelan and Western instruments .. his Philemon and Baukis for violin and gamelan is one of my favorite pieces ever.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-07-23
- Categories: Ceremony
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/40 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2008-07-25 9:20