Kutch is a place like few other. Isolated historically by its unique geography, it established a unique culture with frequent diffusion from Sindh and beyond; the cord of which is today unfortunately ripped asunder by national boundaries. Cut off from Sindh in the West and connected to Saurashtra in the East by new roads and bridges Kutch is becoming more like the rest of Gujarat, and less like what it was. I think uniformity is the biggest challenge humanity faces today, it takes away from the right to individuality we all must assert; for ourselves and our communities. This struggle for balance while facing modernity is a common one across all traditional communities, its difficult. Change is everywhere in Kutch, at a pace that is breathtaking and life changing for all the communities. Religions intersect at the margins in the rural and nomadic areas, and traditions overlap while remaining distinct - without a sign of communal tension even at the worst of times in Gujarat; which is energising and gives hope. And then the Kutchi textiles and prints, the unique Kutchi ecology and the friendly Kutchi people form vivid memories. My host Krutarthsinh Jadeja was the nicest, uniformly patient, polite and helpful man I have met in a while; and my gentle guides Salim and Samir made my inquisitive investigations into the daily lives of the nomadic and rural Kutchi communities fruitful. I'm way behind in writing a detailed travel essay, but here are some photographs. Stay tuned for my writers fog to lift.
The Pentax 67II is a medium format (120mm) film camera, of which I carry two bodies. There are only 10 exposures in each film after the 20 exposure film was phased out in 2015, and this slows my pace even further, making me even more careful with my composition, enabling me to engage deeply with the subject. Changing the film is an equally measured process, after finding a spot in the shade. This lack of speed is similar in the Olympus OM4-Ti (a beautiful 35mm), though each film roll has a luxurious 36 exposures. By now I use only Kodak film : Tri-X 400 B&W and Portra 400 Color for the Pentax; and Tri-X 400 TX B&W and Portra 400 Color for the Olympus. My favourite and most used Pentax lens is the 90 mm / f2.8; then the 45 mm / f4.0; for the Olympus the 50 mm / f1.2; and then the 24 mm / f2.0.