In many of the National Geographic photo assignments that Kristian Bertel participated in, one can clearly see that India is so unusual it could be on another planet. Read the story about his photographs and how he sees India here…
India – the name alone evokes rich images of countless gods, rickshaws, sacred cows, chaotic cities, flexible ascetics, blatant poverty, maharajas and personalities such as Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi. India is a continent of its own full of contrasts.
Nowhere else in the world can travelers marvel at such different religions, cultures, peoples, languages, philosophies, architectural styles and regional cuisines. Those who get involved in the country will be richly rewarded. As the photographer is saying it:
”Especially this immense diversity makes India unique and lovable. The landscape ranges from endless coasts with palm beaches to populous, hectic lowlands to lonely desert areas and high mountains. The genuine openness and hospitality of the Indians makes it easy to make contacts and learn something about the country, its history and the everyday life of the people. Once you have visited India, you will never let it go”
Some reasons why India is a country of its own
India is a melting pot of cultures and it is one of the cradles of religions. Because Rajasthan is the land of kings. Because Buddha spread his teachings in North India. Because Mahatma Gandhi sparked peaceful resistance. Because ‘Karma’ is the secret currency of India. Because Indians strive for enlightenment. Because ‘Mother Ganga’ washes away from sins. Because ‘Holy men’ walk the streets of India. Because spirituality is omnipresent. Because bargaining is more than haggling. Because Indian road traffic is a constant adventure. Because rickshaws are an integral part of India. Because ‘Little Tibet’ is in India. Because Goa became a place of longing for hippies. Because the ruined city of Hampi lies in a bizarre rocky landscape. Because Ayurveda is one of the oldest healing arts in the world. Because the cow is sacred. Because a large family can fit on one scooter.
”India is a rush for all the senses. Colorful statues of gods made of papier-mâché and straw, the scent of incense sticks, wood fires and curry pans. The ringing of Hindu temple bells and the lute of Muslim callers to prayer. But India is also a country that, in just a few decades, has transformed itself into one of the fastest growing economies on earth”
The Photographer who has worked in India for many years, deals with the mysterious caste system and the relationship between the sexes as well as with Indian business practices, table manners and the contrasts between modernity and tradition fueled by globalization. He has traveled to no other region on earth as intensively as India. In his photographs and portraits, he uses his many years of experience to take his viewers to this country that shimmers between tradition, spirituality and modernity.
Brilliantly enriching Archive stories for anyone who wants to travel to India or just dreams of it. What helps to keep the emotional pendulum from swinging too much in one direction is knowledge – knowledge of the “why” underlying the average person in India’s behavior, knowledge that avoids misunderstandings and inspires tolerance.
”My camera is the perfect travel companion for your stay abroad or vacation. You can record your experiences, impressions and unforgettable adventures in this practical travel notebook. This diary offers the greatest possible creative freedom. This travel diary helps to remember the beautiful moments of a trip even years later”
His camera as his travel companion
In his sensitive, sympathetic way, the photographer portrays this contradictory, fascinating country and takes his viewers on an adventurous journey across India in slideshows that makes you want to set off and discover an unknown world. The photographer believes he can ‘Go Beyond’ and discover so much more by going deeper, getting a closer look at an environment or location first hand to see something that others might not see.
”His portraits are especially poignant within the travel portrait genre, which he has been studying for years. In India he unfolds the many qualities of this genre such as it is seen with this depiction of this man in Rajasthan, India”
Travel can be self-realization
If you ask yourself who you are and what meaning should life have, you are ready for the path of self-realization. This is the most vibrant, honest and adventurous way to live yourself. On this path you will explore who you really are and why you exist. Traveling will show you the most important ways to know your own truth. Only then are you able to express your true potential in this world and grow beyond your old self with excitement and deep joy by realizing your purpose in life.
Life changing experiences in India
India can really change your life by changing your mindset and by traveling in this country will help you create awareness into your natural state and embrace the uniqueness within yourself and how you see the everyday details in life.
India can let you learn ‘Slow living’, the longing for slowing down and for consciously being and find happiness by stepping away from the the carousel that we know from home. A carousel where it is easy to get stuck in the never-ending demands to constantly succeed and to acquire more and more. Instead we should find the freedom to be less perfect and taking time to enjoy the pure joys of life, emphasizing depth, connection and meaningful experiences by taking a walk on a photographic trip from street to street of its most spectacular destinations, inspiring tangible ideas for how you see and regards life amongst hundreds of the most breathtaking places and the most enriching and authentic experiences offering a diverse array of possibilities and make the most of your journey.
”The photographer combines personal experiences while exploring India with reflections on how and why the strange and distant is such an excellent means of recognizing oneself and experiencing the world and time differently. His photographs, which are as fascinating as it is inspiring, are both a visual road trip and a philosophical search for the meaning of travel”
Without the Photographs, your memories of this wonderful time will eventually fade away, but it does not have to be. Your travel photographs will help you to record your most beautiful experiences and also to shed light on your personal development – and the way people in India are seeing life and nature as well is also an eye opener.
”- In the Western world our goal process is often determined by going from A to B, while in India they see their goals and developments more like a circular process, that does not necessarily has to go fast. So a trip to India can improve your life by traveling in India — and see how great discoveries are made by paying attention to the little details most of us overlook”, Kristian Bertel says.
National Geographic Your Shot is the place for photographers to tell stories collaboratively through their best photography and expert curation. There are also the many National Geographic photographers known from the magazines that are freelancers and who come from a wide array of backgrounds. They have different interests, passions, experiences and have educational backgrounds in a variety of disciplines.
You might also like:
Assignments and Stories — National Geographic Your Shot »
Your Shot Photo Community — National Geographic »
Kristian Bertel’s entire gallery on Your Shot »
Showcase of Kristian Bertel’s Your Shot »
Nat Geo Assignment: Keep Still »
Kristian Bertel’s website »