In the summer of 1974 I embarked on a grand journey of six months of University study and travel in India. I was coming from a very rural and sheltered upbringing, and was eager to broaden my horizons. I took with me some clothes and essentials, a Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera and 20 packs of 110 cartridge film, $200 in traveler's checks, and a keen longing for adventure.
I knew very little about how the world at large or India worked, but I was eager to find out.
There are probably dozens of things that could go awry in a scenario like that, but nothing bad happened. On the contrary, most of my experiences were quite wonderful.
In retrospect, I think it was because my heart was pure.
I fell in love with the country, and especially with the people. There is always a risk in generalizing, but I would still assert that Indians are some of the friendliest and most gracious people on the planet.
My first port of call after landing in Delhi was the red fort at Agra and the Taj Mahal. I had a big dose of culture shock and cultural awe right at the start, and I embraced it and ran with it.
I've scanned all my prints and ephemera from the trip and am working my way through editing them. Some of them have faded and the colors have shifted, and there's only so much that can be done to correct them digitally, but I'm okay with that--the vintage look adds to their considerable charm.
I had zero experience or schooling as a photographer, and had to carefully limit my shots because of my finite film resources, but still I am impressed with some of the images I captured. My younger self had a very untrained eye, but an eye none the less.
I am delving into the past as preparation for the future--I am going to return to India this summer and am terrifically excited about it. I just received my visa, and concrete travel plans are being laid. Stay tuned for more tourist photos, Indian textiles, and art work in progress!