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Nikon Owner Issue 22

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Puja by Stefano Barozzi

"If the images I take in the future could somehow change the way that we view the life, the customs and the peoples of the developing world, I feel I would have really achieved something as a photographer."

Picture 1

STEFANO BAROZZI was born in Lecco, near Milan in Northern Italy. His interest and enthusiasm for photography began at the age of eighteen while studying photography as part of his degree course in Stage Design at the Belle Arti Academy in Milan, Italy.

After graduating from this course, he worked in Italy for the next ten years as an editor of visual effects for commercials in television. He has been living in London for the last six months, and is currently studying street-fashion photography at the London College of Communication. One of his main interests is 'travel photography' and his work has been published in the V&S Magazine in Italy. He has travelled widely and taken photographs in many countries throughout the world, including Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

He is a subscriber to Nikon Owner magazine and a keen Nikon user, having used a variety of Nikon bodies and lenses over the last ten years. One of his first cameras was an F65. He currently uses a D200 and 17-55mm f/2.8G DX lens and an SB-800 flash gun, but still loves using his F65.

The Photograph

In Puja

"The picture was taken at Varanasi, on the Ganges River in India, the holy city for the Hindu people. I had been interested in both Buddhism and the Hindu religion for a long time, and I had just arrived in India from Nepal where I had met a number of Buddhists. According to Hindus, the River Ganga is a sacred place, personified as a goddess who holds an important place in the Hindu religion. Hindu belief holds that bathing in the river on certain occasions can cleanse a person's soul of sins and help a person attain salvation.

"Hindus believe life is not complete without bathing in the Ganga at least once in their lifetime and I was inspired to take this particular shot of the Hindu woman bathing in the river because I was moved by the ritual itself, the brightness of the sari that the woman was wearing and the intensity in the woman's eyes. The moment itself was profoundly spiritual, and for a western visitor like myself, a very enlightening sight. Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga; this one was the Dhala Chhat Puja1 held for the women of the family.

"I feel my own role as a photographer is to provide a vehicle to illustrate the life and mores of parts of the developing world in order to gain a better understanding of some of these ancient or spiritual customs. In the future I would like to take on a photo-journalistic project that would involve documenting parts of the world such as Burma or Nepal, which contains a mix of many ethnic groups and diverse landscapes. Through my images I would aim to enlighten the viewer on the life and livelihood of the peoples of those countries as well as the problems they face."

Location: The River Ganges, India

Equipment used: A Nikon F65 fitted with a 28-100mm AFG loaded with Ektachrome 100 ISO film.

1 The act of praying in the river is called Puja.