Tea Sorting Shed

Tea Sorting Shed


This selection of images from a recent visit to the south of India is very random and from each location I usually post the first one that I come to in each section, so there are many more that, as yet, haven’t seen the light of day.

I don’t generally post a whole set of photos at the same time because this isn’t a travel blog, despite most of them resulting from travelling, and although I enjoy visiting travel blogs in order to see what the world looks like, photographically speaking, this blog is really just about the single image.

It’s about photography first. It’s not just about places, or people, it’s about photographing places and people.

It’s about more than that. It’s not just about photographing places and people, it’s about presenting the image. It’s about my ‘take’ on the image. I trained as an artist and I worked as an art teacher. I gave children starting points and encouraged them to interpret them. I hope that I gave them the means by which they could interpret what they saw through different media so that they had the wherewithal to start evolving their own view of the world.

I take serious issue with anyone who claims that photography is solely about presenting the truth. The expression ‘the camera never lies’  never was a statement of fact. It was used to persuade people to accept the truth as the photographer presented it.

Photography has always been like that. The first photographers saw themselves as artists and they had a vision of what an ideal world should look like. They interpreted: and then, as now, they were attacked for it.

We bring to photography many assumptions, and we bring rules. There are no rules. The means by which we make images is irrelevant, there are only images…….



15 thoughts on “Tea Sorting Shed

    • Thanks Sreejith. I like it for its structure and the way the light brings out the textures, and for the strong recession, and for the changing quality of the window light, and for the patches of warm colour against the green, and for the division of the picture area and for the dense weight of the shadows against the strips of light.

  1. John, I generally agree with you on your statement about photography being an art form. I’m not sure that the vast majority of those who take photos using the point and shoot and cell phones are aware of themselves being defined as artists. I would suspect that they see themselves as related to their work. Taking pictures is just to document events in their lives and to preserve those pictures for future enjoyment.

    • Oh! I do agree, photographs are documents, photographs are an aide-memoire.
      I like to think about photography like I think about cars. A car is a useful tool to take you from A to B; it takes you round corners and helps you do the shopping: normal, mundane ordinary things. A car also can be a joy to behold and take great skill in driving so that the driving experience is like poetry in motion, and the driving of such a car can change your experience of the world through which you pass. Many of us never transition to the point where we drive for drivings sake and where we become sensitised to the feel of the road surface and the ability to drive near the edge on ice, but always in control. Reading the road and weather conditions and being confident that our car is able to tell us when to ease off, or when to press on.
      ….and don’t deride the humble cell phone….remember it’s the eye behind the camera that makes the difference.
      Thanks Tim….you’re making me work hard for my sins.

      • John,
        Not too hard I hope. Thanks for the inspired answer and comparison to a car. It is an excellent one.
        Yes, I think we agree that a camera is a tool, be it a cell phone or an expensive DSLR. Yes, the eye and the brain. I see many brainless photos. Many of mine would fit into this category.
        One of my fellow photo club members is in the habit of asking, “Why did you take this photo?” I’m pleased he does ask, it makes my brain more active.

        • Yes we need to ask ‘Why?’
          …but the answer can be very superficial…..’because it was a nice view’ gets us nowhere.
          Perhaps ‘What is this photo about?’ could lead to some more difficult thinking.The problem that most people have about this area is that they are more interested in the things in the picture than in the picture itself.


          Thanks Tim.

  2. Hi, I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Because you have some very intense photography, to the point I said I wouldn’t walk down that alley, it looks scary.

  3. The image is inviting, John…I imagine that I can smell the strong black teas that might be produced from the leaves processed here…and I enjoyed your insightful words…very much.

    • Thank you Scott…it’s a shame this isn’t smell-o-vision for as you suggest, the fresh green leaves gave off a heavy and rich aroma. I have yet to taste the tea that I brought back. You may know that chai is made by boiling the tea, sugar and milk all together and is rather an acquired taste.

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