Kumbh Mela Photography Workshops

 

Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013. Allahabad

Prashant_panjiar_Kumbh_Mela_Photography_Workshops_09_header
Some travel on foot for weeks or months, others fly in on jets or helicopters. The gods make no distinction, for anybody who bathes is blessed equally.

Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering on earth occurs four times every 12 years, when tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims come together to take a ceremonial dip in the sacred Ganges, Shipra or Godavari Rivers. Locations for the gathering hopscotch across the plains between Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, four cities where drops of the nectar of immortality were spilled from its kumbh (pitcher) during a battle between demi-gods and demons.

Kumbh Mela commemorates this victory for good in the battle for supremacy against evil. Each of the four cities hosts one mela (festival) during the 12-year cycle, with the largest Kumbh Mela taking place in Allahabad. This is where the holy rivers, the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, converge and a spot where all pious Hindus hope to bathe at least once in their lives.
When the mela was held here in 2001, around 70 million pilgrims, more people than the population of the United Kingdom, came to bathe in the confluence known as the sangam.
The kumbh Mela is an event of enormous magnitude and is arguably the biggest gathering of human beings on the planet. This throws up infinite opportunities to create stunning images while also posing a many a huddle for photographers not accustomed to this kind of situation.

Travelling Lens Photography Workshops at this year’s kumbh mela are designed to put you at the heart of this mystical celebration and learn the intricacies of creating great images at an event of this scale from seasoned professional photographers.

Masterclass Workshop with Magnum Photographer Abbas

For advanced amateurs, semi professional and professional photographers only. Registration is subject to a portfolio review. Please read the registration section below for details on how to apply.
Dates: 24th to 30th January 2013
Fee: USD 4000 | EURO 3100 | INR 2,15,000 (Includes Taxes)
Number of Participants: 12
Registration Closes: Midnight, 5th January 2013 (Indian Standard Time)
Led by a Brahmin, Hindu pilgrims perform 'Anthyasthi', last rites for their deceased, on a ghat by the river Ganges. Kumbh Mela Photography Workshop with Abbas Hindu pilgrims by the river Ganges. They put on their dhotis after bathing.Kumbh Mela Photography Workshop with Abbas

Abbas Kumbh mela

Born a photographer, Abbas is an Iranian transplanted in Paris, a member of the prestigious agency Magnum. The wars and revolutions he covered since the early 70’s have been published in major magazines worldwide. After the Iranian revolution, he devoted his photographic life to a critical survey of major religions, Islam, Christianity, Paganism and Buddhism. He is currently working on Hinduism.
“My photography is a reflection that comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Isn’t photo-graphy writing with light? The photographer is possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which it must transcend so as not to become its prisoner.”

 

Here are a few links where you can have a look at a few among his many books:
  • In Whose Name? the Islamic World after 9/11. www.thamesandhudson.com
  • Allah O Akbar, a journey through militant islam. www.phaidon.com
  • Faces of Christianity: A Photographic Journey. www.abramsbooks.com
  • Les Enfants du Lotus, voyages chez les Bouddhistes. http://editionsdelamartiniere.fr
  • Rather than act as a professor who hands down the truth, Abbas tends to direct students to find out by themselves how they can improve their photography and their editing. Previous workshop students in Mexico, Cairo, Bali, Tokyo, Dharamsala, Singapore etc… have appreciated this method.
    Students should be motivated and willing to work very hard for 6 days. Abbas has the reputation of exhausting his students… and himself.

    Program

    Jan 24th| Day 1
    Morning
    Each photographer to bring 15 to 20 small work prints (cheap 13x18cms) about a previous work, preferably on a single subject. Expensive folio prints are not necessary. This work will be laid on the table and evaluated to ascertain the level of each student. Assignments are then discussed and given.
    Afternoon and evening
    Students shoot their respective subjects.
    Jan 25th to 28th | Day 2 to 5
    Students shoot all day
    They come back in late afternoon to edit their shoot in groups of two on their computers
    The edit is then projected and discussed by all
    A smaller edit is then printed.
    Jan 28th | Day 6
    Students finish off their editing
    Once all the work prints made, they are laid out on a table for the final edit
    A concept is worked out which leads to the sequencing of the work
    The aim of this exercise is to emphasize the importance of editing and sequencing to present a coherent image of the various assignments.

    Registration

    To apply for this workshop you are required to submit a series of 8 to 12 images that display your level of photographic ability.
    The submission procedure is as follows:
  • 1. Create a strong portfolio of 8-12 photographs.
  • 2. Each file should be no larger than 1500 pix on the long edge @ 72 ppi.
  • 3. Compress the images into a ZIP file.
  • 4. Attach the zip file along with
  • A. Short Bio
  • B. Personal Statement
  • 5. Send this in an email to submissions@travellinglens.net with “Kumbh Mela with Abbas [your full name]” as the subject.
  • Submissions that do not conform to these guidelines will be ignored.
    If you are selected you will be sent an invoice with payment details.

    Includes

  • Accommodation on a double sharing basis. (see accommodation tab for details)
  • All meals
  • Work prints during the workshop
  • Does not Include

  • International or Domestic Flights
  • Beverages
  • Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” section above

  • Terms and Conditions

  • Tour subject to a minimum of 06 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon selection and final payment of workshop fees
  • The workshop fee mentioned includes 3.08% service tax.
  • Masterclass with Raghu Rai

    For advanced amateurs, semi professional and professional photographers only. Registration is subject to a portfolio review. Please read the registration section below for details on how to apply.
    Dates: February 8th to 14th 2013
    Fee:USD 4000 / INR 215,000 (Includes Taxes)
    Number of Participants: 12
    Registration Closes: Midnight, 5th January 2013 (Indian Standard Time)

    Raghu Rai was born in the small village of Jhhang, now part of Pakistan. He took up photography in 1965, and the following year joined “The Statesman” newspaper as its chief photographer. Impressed by an exhibit of his work in Paris in 1971, Henri Cartier-Bresson nominated Rai to join Magnum Photos in 1977.
    In the last 18 years, Rai has specialized in extensive coverage of India. He has produced more than 18 books, including Raghu Rai’s Delhi, The Sikhs, Calcutta, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Tibet in Exile, India, and Mother Teresa.
    Rai was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ in 1971, one of India’s highest civilian awards ever given to a photographer. In 1992, his National Geographic cover story “Human Management of Wildlife in India” won him widespread critical acclaim for the piece.
    Besides winning many national and international awards, Rai has exhibited his works in London, Paris, New York, Hamburg, Prague, Tokyo, Zurich and Sydney. His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers including “Time”, “Life”, “GEO”, “The New York Times”, “Sunday Times”, “Newsweek”, “The Independent,” and the “New Yorker”.
    Raghu Rai’s Kumbh Workshop is an exercise in poetry as much as photography. Probably one of the most celebrated Indian photographers of all time, Mr Rai will mentor serious amateurs and professional photographers on a journey of self-discovery.
    Mr Rai believes strongly in an even balance between discussion and practice. Participants will be guided to work towards either daily shooting goals or a larger photo-essay and return everyday for critique and feedback. The overlying theme of the workshop will be to dig deep and find expression for our own innate creativity through the medium of photography.
    Included in the workshop dates is February 10th, Mauni Amawasya, the biggest bathing date of the Kumbh Mela on which an estimated 20 million pilgrims will take their holy dip. The milue of cultural expression surrounding the Kumbh, the gatherings of ascetics from around the country and devotion of millions is the ideal backdrop for tutorage from the great master.
    Particpants will learn to go deeper and understand the medium of ‘photography’ in depth, while also getting a chance to explore the complexity of what Mahakumbh means from someone who has first hand experience of it. Participants will have the opportunity to go into details step by step and learn to shoot different aspects of The Kumbh Mela, such as as pilgrims’s participation, sadhus and their akharas, the different religious sects and their activities. Gradually, you build a whole story of Mahakumbh, analyze and convert it into a meaningful insight into the religious and spiritual participation of the masses. Where we will not only emphasize on taking good pictures, which one has seen before, but we shall focus on very sensitive and meaningful nuances where each image should speak from the very depth what creative photography should be.
    Participant will also learn how to convert the whole story into a picture book.

    Program

    Feb 8th | Day 1
    Morning | Arrival & Orientation
    Afternoon | Lecture on Creativity in daily life and photography
    Feb 9th to 12th | Day 2 – 5
    Shoot all day & return for daily critique/feedback sessions
    Feb 13th | Day 6
    Final Selection & Editing will be completed | A finished slideshow will be projected for group discussion.

    Registration

    To apply for this workshop you are required to submit a series of 8 to 12 images that display your level of photographic ability.
    The submission procedure is as follows:
  • 1. Create a strong portfolio of 8-12 photographs.
  • 2. Each file should be no larger than 1500 pix on the long edge @ 72 ppi.
  • 3. Compress the images into a ZIP file.
  • 4. Attach the zip file along with
  • A. Short Bio
  • B. Personal Statement
  • 5. Send this in an email to submissions@travellinglens.net with “Kumbh Mela with Raghu Rai [your full name]” as the subject.
  • Submissions that do not conform to these guidelines will be ignored.
    If you are selected you will be sent an invoice with payment details.

    Includes

  • Accommodation on a double sharing basis. (see accommodation tab for details)
  • All meals
  • Work prints during the workshop
  • Does not Include

  • International or Domestic Flights
  • Beverages
  • Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” section above

  • Terms and Conditions

  • Tour subject to a minimum of 06 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon selection and final payment of workshop fees
  • The workshop fee mentioned includes 3.08% service tax.
  • Advanced Documentary Photography with Prashant Panjiar

    Dates: February 14th to 20th 2013
    Fee:USD 2000 / INR 106,000 (Includes Taxes)
    Number of Participants: 12
    Registration Closes: Midnight, 5th January 2013 (Indian Standard Time)
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    Set against the backdrop of the Maha Kumbh Mela, this workshop is designed to take your photography to the next level. The focus of the workshop is to help participants visualize a desired finished product/project (a photoessay, a slideshow, a small book, an exhibition, an installation or perhaps even a multimedia piece) and work systematically towards its completion during the workshop. Through a combination of lectures, moderated group discussion, critique sessions and individual reviews mentor Prashant Panjiar will guide participants through the various stages of executing the chosen project; from ideation and story boarding to post-processing and finishing.
    Included in the workshop are 3 important bathing dates, and one can expect an infinity of human beings as well as shooting opportunities. This workshop is best suited to serious amateurs and professional photographers who are looking to initiate and execute a finished project under the guidance of a veteran photographer with insight into the festival.

    Born 1957, Prashant Panjiar is a self-taught photographer. A post-graduate in Political Science he worked on photographic projects focusing on peasant movements and other social issues through his college and university days. His first self-financed project that received public acclaim was his work for a book on banditry in the Chambal region of Central India. In 1984, he joined mainstream journalism with the Patriot newspaper where he photographed many important events including the riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, terrorism in Punjab and the elections.
    In 1986 he moved on to join India Today magazine. As senior photographer with India Today, he was sent around the world to cover global events including the Gulf War in 1991, the pulling out the Russians from Afghanistan, Indo-Pak tensions from inside Pakistan and many other socially relevant stories. In 1995 he joined the Outlook Group of Publications as Associate Editor, in charge of photography. There he rose in in ranks until October 2001 when Panjiar left the Outlook Group to devote himself to full-time independent photography.
    As one of India’s senior photojournalists and picture editors, Panjiar is actively involved in guiding young photographers. He is one of the three senior photographers who select and mentor young documentary photographers for National Foundation of India’s fellowship programme. Panjiar served on the jury of the World Press Photo Awards in Amsterdam in 2002 and the first annual China International Press Photo Competition organized by Xinhua, the national news agency of China.

    Register

    To register you are required to pay a booking deposit of USD 500/INR 26,500
    If you have a discount code, please enter it below. We send out discount codes to people on our mailing list or facebook page.


    Includes

  • Accommodation on a double sharing basis. (see accommodation tab for details)
  • All meals
  • Work prints during the workshop
  • Does not Include

  • International or Domestic Flights
  • Beverages
  • Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” section above

  • Terms and Conditions

  • Tour subject to a minimum of 06 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon selection and final payment of workshop fees
  • The workshop fee mentioned includes 3.08% service tax.
  • Introduction to Documentary Photography with Yanncik Cormier

    Dates: February 3rd to 8th 2013
    Fee:USD 1550 / INR 80,000 (Includes Taxes)
    Number of Participants: 12
    Registration Closes: Midnight, 5th January 2013 (Indian Standard Time)
    With the intense celebrations of the Maha Kumbh Mela as a backdrop, this six-day photography workshop has been designed to hone your visual story-telling abilities. Led by critically acclaimed photojournalist Yannick Cormier you will explore the building-blocks of documentary photography through a series of classroom-lectures, personal reviews, group discussions and daily one-on-one sessions to help develop a story of your choosing.
    At the center of the workshop is a simulated photojournalism assignment moderated by the instructor. You will be required to isolate a subject amongst the milieu of stories surrounding the Kumbh Mela and work towards a well-rounded body of images under the constant guidance of Yannick.

    Program

    Feb 3rd | Day 1
    Arrive at Tented Camp, check-in and orientation.
    Morning: Individual Portfolio Reviews of past work
    Afternoon: Lecture on building blocks of documentary photography
    Late Afternoon: Free to explore and isolate story ideas
    Feb 4th | Day 2
    Morning: Free to explore and finalize story idea
    Afternoon: Discuss subject with Yannick
    Feb 5th & 6th | Day 3 & 4
    Shoot all Day
    Evenings: Editing sessions led by Yannick | Daily edits will be projected and the group will discuss images.
    Feb 8th Day 6 | Final Selection & Editing
    Morning – Afternoon: Individual Editing session with Yannick to make selections
    Evening: Digital processing of images for final slideshow
    Night | Final Slideshow & Gala Dinner

    Yannick Comier | Trikaya Photos

    kumbh mela yannick cormier profile photograph

    Yannick Cormier was born in 1975 in France. In the early 2000s he worked in the studio Astre in Paris parallel to his photographic studies in CIFAP. After years of working as an assistant for Patrick Swirc, William Klein and others, he began a career as a documentary photographer. From 2003 to 2005 he teamed up with the agency Wostokpress and was sent to India as a correspondent. During those years, he fell in love with all that is India and has since been settled in the coastal city of Chennai.
    In 2007 he founded the agency Trikaya Photos in India, to showcase emerging photographers working on sensitive issues. Since 2009, he has been working on the conflict in the region of Kashmir, the problem of drugs addiction in Kolkata and the marginalized transsexual community across India. His photography is an aesthetic testament of traditions that are endangered in modern India. These images have been published in various international magazines (OjodePez, Courrier international, etc) and exhibited in India and abroad.

    Register

    To register please send an email to mail@travellinglens.net


    Includes

  • Accommodation on a double sharing basis. (see accommodation tab for details)
  • All meals
  • Work prints during the workshop
  • Does not Include

  • International or Domestic Flights
  • Beverages
  • Anything not mentioned in the “Includes” section above

  • Terms and Conditions

  • Tour subject to a minimum of 06 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon selection and final payment of workshop fees
  • The workshop fee mentioned includes 3.08% service tax.
  • Our workshops are hosted at luxury campsite, where our comfortable tents give you the creature comforts you need to keep your mind focused on photography. We are located very close to the action and our tents are spacious, cozy, have electricity connections and an attached bathroom with running water.
    The pictures below are for reference from the campsite in Haridwar at the last Kumch Mela. Actual images of this years campsite will be posted soon

     


    Schedule of Main Bathing Dates

    27th January 2013 | Paush Purnima
    06th February 2013 | Ekadashi Snan
    10th February 2013 | Mauni Amavasya Snan | This is the biggest bathing date of the mela
    15th February 2013 | Basant Panchami Snan
    17th February 2013 | Rath Saptami Snan
    18th February 2013 | Bhisma Ekadashi Snan
    25th February 2013 | Maghi Purnima Snan

    Many of you are probably trying to evaluate which workshop suits you best; here are some guidelines to help you decide.

    For beginners and amateur photographers who are interested in learning the art of making great images, the Introduction to Festival Photography by Tom Bourdon is ideally suited. Tom will give you a course on the basics of photography before working hands-on with you to help you create some stunning photos.

    For amateur photographers who have a firm understanding of the basics of photography and are looking to explore the art of visual story telling, The Introduction to Documentary Photography by Yannick Cormier is perfect for you. Yannick will talk about the different approaches within documentary photography and will work with you one-on-one to develop a cohesive body of images that represents a particular aspect of the Kumbh Mela.

    For serious amateurs and beginning professionals who are looking to create a body of work at the Kumbh under the guidance an award-winning photographer, the Advanced Documentary Photography Workshop by Prashant Panjiar is the ideal choice. Based on the chosen end-product, be it a slide-show, a small book, an exhibition or even an installation, Prashant will work one-on-one with participants to constantly guide their progress from start to finish. This workshop will take you step by step through the process of completing your project, from conceptualization to finishing; given the short duration of the workshop you can expect to work very hard.

    For Advanced Amatuers & Professionals looking to work at the Kumbh under the guidance of legendary Magnum Photographers, one can choose from either Masterclass with Abbas or Masterclass with Raghu Rai. These Master Class workshops have been designed to expand your potential as an image-maker and take your photography to the next level. The overlying focus of the workshop will be to work individually with your instructor to evaluate past work and isolate direction for future improvement. Both workshops require you to select a subject in the milieu of activity at the Kumbh and work in a disciplined manner to complete the project. Daily review sessions with your mentor will give you a chance to assess your work and plan the next shooting session. The opportunity to work side-by-side with the world’s most celebrated photographers should not be taken lightly. You will be pushed to step out of your comfort zone and work extremely hard to produce images of consequence.

    Please note that the Kumbh Mela to attract millions of pilgrims from all around India; if you have been to India before and are planning to hop onto a bus or train, please make prior arrangements. The public transport going in and out of Allahabad is likely to be literally bursting with people.

    By Air

    The fastest way to get to Allahbad is by flight from Delhi. The fares range from INR 3,500 – 15,000 depending on the date and the availability – the sooner you book the better your chances.
    AIR INDIA is the only airline that flies directly into Allahbad from Delhi, you can also book a connecting flight from any major city in India. Look on www.cleartrip.com for the cheapest airfares.
    One can fly to Varanasi and take a taxi from there to Allahbad.

    By Train

    The Indian Railway system is an efficient way to get to Allahbad. The city comes enroute to Delhi from most major cities and you can hop onto a train to Allahbad from many places in India. Look on www.irctc.co.in or www.cleartrip.com for train timings and availability.

    Travelling Lens understands that unforeseen circumstances might cause you to withdraw from the tour.

    Our refund policy is as follows:

    If you cancel more than 45days in advance: You are refunded 80% of package cost
    If you cancel 45days to 30 days: You are refunded 60% of package cost
    If you cancel 30days: No Refund.

     

    Taxes, paypal fees and transaction costs, if any, are non refundable.