Without The Frame, V
Agra, INDIA. January 2007. I shot this image at the Taj Mahal. It’s one of several hundred I shot there and one of the only ones I like.
Shooting an icon like the Taj Mahal is tough. Shooting any icon is difficult, but the building reputed to be the “most photographed building in the world” is even harder. It’s easy to take a photograph of an icon, but very difficult to take an iconic photograph of a subject that is already iconic. This was my effort at that – to create an image that shows something more than the postcard view – to show the Taj as I see it – a monument that was once a living piece of history that is now the haunt of tourists and pigeons – a dusty monument that is no less beautiful but has, I suspect, lost the spirit it had when it was first built as a monument to a dead wife by a grieving king. Maybe I’m wrong. Lord knows there are many ways to perceive the Taj. What mattered to me was creating an image that reflected my vision.
So when I stumbled upon a maintenance man sweeping the dust and the pigeon feathers from the floor of the adjacent (north) mosque at the Taj, I knew I had my moment. I shot thirty frames as the sweeper moved back and forth. He kept trying to get out of my shot – trying to be polite and driving me nuts at the same time.
I metered off the sandstone arch and then adjusted so my histogram had as much data as possible without losing too much in the highlights. It was a very high dynamic range of light to deal with – in thos cases it’s best to get as much data as possible (ie, keep the histogram to the right without cliping too much) and then plunge the shadows in Photoshop or Lightroom.
EXIF data: Canon 5D, 17-40.4.0L @ 17mm, iso500, 1/250, f13. Image processed in Lightroom.