Dhobi are a Hindu caste specialised in washing clothes. During my journey along the Yamuna river, I came across many of them especially at Allahabad, Agra and along the Ganges at Varanasi. However, it is during my stay around Balua Ghat at Allahabad that I took the opportunity of documenting them at work. Every morning and every evening when the temperature was the best I used to walk along the Yamuna river. They were always there working hard. The process was always the same, first washing linen in holes made in the ground before rinsing them in the river and slapping them on a stone to remove the stains. Then, there was something almost technical and meticulous about the way they lay each piece of linen on the ground.
This slideshow explores the life of some Dobhis at work along the Yamuna river at Balua Ghat. I would have liked to keep this post nice and not speak about the pollution in the Yamuna river in this particular place. However, the truth is that a few yards upstream, a grey stream filled with sewage joins the river. And despite some other Dobhis smiling and waving at me on the other side of the stream, I can say that the place had nothing enjoyable like most of the Balua ghat’s river bank which is full of rubbish left behind by worshippers or by people emptying their bin bags in the river. I felt that it was important to say so as there is nothing romantic about being a Dhobi spending a few hours a day washing traditionally some clothes in a polluted environment. It has a health impact. If you want to read further about the Yamuna river and its pollution, see my story Blue Yamuna.
On the 18th of August, I gave one to one tuition street photography workshop in Bristol to Ken. He has been doing photography for a while but it is only recently that he discovered an interest for street photography. He was mostly interested in increasing his knowledge on how to approach street photography and so people in the street. Following the workshop, he sent me these kind words that he has allowed me to share with you.
“Just to say many thanks for the session on Saturday. I really enjoyed and felt that I learnt a lot from it particularly how to look out for the right shot. It also made me realise how far away I am from being able to consistently produce professional standard images. Whilst this is slightly depressing it is also good because I feel the session has given me a much better idea of what I need to do to bridge the gap.”
To get more information about my workshops in and around Bristol, see my page Street Photography Holiday Workshop in Bristol. I do organise workshops abroad too. To not miss any news about them, you can subscribe to my newsletter mailing list.
I took this picture on my second visit of Marrakesh as part of my project about the Moroccan Medina, in October 2011. Unlike Fez, roads run through its ramparts allowing traffic inside the Medina. I was walking on one of the main roads near the Mellah of Marrakech when I spotted the four electric/gaz boxes in the ramparts. I quite like the lines they made along with the red and white signs on the pavement. The association of texture and colour were quite interesting in terms of contrast. Then the Moroccan man traditionally dressed walked by bringing a true Moroccan feeling to the photograph. I was very lucky that no cars or motorbikes drove by when taking it.