After a much-needed sleep-in, day 4 started at the Shaheb Bazar Kacha market. Part slaughter house, part fish market and part vegetable market. It was so picturesque that I barely noticed that my feet were soaked in blood and dirty, stagnant fish water.
In general, everyone was very happy to let me take their pictures as they went about their workday. But for the few vendors that were hesitant to let me take their picture I had to break out my tried and tested secret weapon: I would walk up to him (oddly, 99% of vendors are men in Bangladesh), look him straight in the eyes and with all the heterosexual energy I could muster, I would tell him “Tumi onek sundor” (“Hello, you are beautiful”). After that, resistance didn’t stand a chance. This would undoubtedly disarm them and elicit a smile (and roars of laughter from onlookers)- and a silent resignation and permission to take their photo (#protip).
On our bumpy 3-hour ride towards Bogra, the landscape alternated from sugarcane fields, to rice paddies to the chili fields of Shingra. The time was spent discussing photography, comparing notes (“Which lens did you use?”), and having long discussions on the difference between travel photography and street photography.
As we turned a bend in the road we all shouted to the driver in unison, “STOP!!!!!”.
There she was, like a beacon of light in a foggy harbor; a young girl harvesting rice wearing a bright red evening dress. If you would have staged this shoot you could not have picked a better subject and outfit. The contrast of the dress, not only in its color against the landscape but also with the juxtaposition of her harvesting rice in an elegant gown, was unreal, bizarre… perfect. The “old soul” expression of the young girl’s face, the tattered basket in her arms, the small detail of the yellow flower in her hair were all photographically stunning.
She lives at my house now…