Week 32 continued: Ratha Yatra, the Festival of Chariots

Recently, Leicester (Less-tah) has become known for its overachieving football team. At odds of several thousand to one, the club won the English Premier League last season, causing consternation across the footballing world. It’s also led to the city becoming known to many people who had never heard of it previously, despite being the 10th largest in Britain. 

The chances are those that were familiar with it, knew it for its diversity and as the first city in the UK with a ‘non-White-British’ majority in its population. The large areas of the city that have Indian, Pakistani, African or Polish communities are always interesting to explore (and smell) as they really do feel like enclaves of those countries, transposed into red-brick, Victorian houses. Apart from 6 years in the late-80s, it’s always been home and that openness and tolerance of others is something that to me feels entirely natural. I was delighted that in the EU referendum, it wasn’t only Scotland that voted against a Brexit, Leicester did too. 

This weekend saw Leicester do what it does best. On Saturday, the main thoroughfares of the centre were temporarily closed as the Caribbean Carnival made it slow and noisy progress through the streets. With the sun shining, it was a brilliantly colourful celebration. On Sunday, the Krishna festival of Ratha Yatra took over with devotees pulling ropes towing huge wooden carts carrying deities, with hundreds of faithful singing, dancing and playing music to accompany them.

You’ll have to take my word for how colourful it was as I chose Kodak TMax as the third film through my new camera (the second was a roll of C200 shot at the Caribbean Carnival, so you’ll need to wait for that one). Looking back at the pictures I brought home, there weren’t any (on film at least) of the carts themselves – I seemed to concentrate on the people, something I hoped that this camera would lead me to do.

The Leica is great to use. While I still need to get the hang of zone focussing and not spending too long over-thinking exposure setting, I can already see why it is the preferred tool of ‘street’ photographers. 

I also need to learn how to scan again. While my previous workflow was good for 120 negatives, hastily scanned 35mm, viewed on a huge monitor, look terrible (you can’t imagine my initial disappointment when I saw the first results from the Leica at low dpi on a 27″ screen), although for now they look OK on a small screen after some Lightroom contrast tweaks…

This is my first attempt to post on WordPress from an iPad. What a complete ball-ache!

8 thoughts on “Week 32 continued: Ratha Yatra, the Festival of Chariots

  1. Pingback: Ratha Yatra, the Festival of Chariots — 52 rolls | yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah

  2. Pingback: Leicester’s Festival Weekend | yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah

  3. Pingback: Week 32 concluded: Leica Colour | 52 rolls

  4. Hi Barney, Nice pictures ! Yes, take pictures of the people. I don’t know if you saw Cartier-Bresson’s pictures of the coronation of King George in 37 (by the wonders of the internet they are here: https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2K1HRGRDL32). There are no pictures of the king or his entourage- he just took pictures of the crowds! They are great, but I wonder what the magazine that sent him thought about that…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Leicester’s Festival Weekend | BarnabyNutt

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