Jun 28 2008

mpp – most photographed places – taj mahal

Most of us don’t have the luxury of the 30 day National Geographic  assignment or the big budget GE Healthcare commercial (“Beats”) that has time to scout and stage a cricket game across the river from the Taj Mahal.

ge mpp   most photographed places   taj mahal

In my case I was traveling with a group of American Diabetes Association doctors and their families and had a sunset and a sunrise to do my shooting.

Shortly after entering an enterprising guide, seeing a professional looking camera attached himself to my hip and commenced to drag me to all of the cliche locations that he learned from the postcard vendors. Since time was short I allowed him to lead hoping that one of his prized spots could be close to a location that I could work with.

As we were walking I could hear the Islamic call to prayer wafting through the courtyard and I noticed a devoted man kneeling in prayer against a wall. I had read that the Taj was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, but it only then that it dawned on me that I was in a Muslim mosoleum. I had my idea!

20061009 india 9560 mpp   most photographed places   taj mahal

I turned my guide into a model asking him to kneel in profile in one of the side archways. The direction of the prayer was chosen by what looked good to the camera. I only hope that this was close to the proscribed directive of praying to Mecca.

20061009 india 9628 mpp   most photographed places   taj mahal

My friend returned the next morning and was quite confused to see me pointing my camera down into the reflecting pool instead of including it as a foreground element like he saw so many times. Perhaps this spot has been added to his selection of locations that he highlights to the next camera toting tourist.

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