Extra Credit: My 5 Favorite Photos of 2018!

Top 5 Photographic Moments of 2018

The photographs shown here and the fact that they were made were a small miracle and they are my best photos of the year 2018. when I returned to the States from India in May 2017, I was not sure if I would make it back to India in 2018. Through dedication and hard work on my part and the generosity of my friends across the States I was able to save up the money to make a month long trip to India. It was important for me to go for several reasons. One, to reinforce my connection with the sub-continent. Two, to face my past I had left behind in Udaipur. And three, to do a trial run of the photography tours I was hoping to start.

After planning my trip, I became a part of a project that would take me to the small village of Hushangabad in Haryana. This added an element of work to my trip and in the end added much to my life. Each time I travel to India she seeps deeper into my bones. One day I hope to live there again and show you all photographs from year round again!

5. Reflection Selfie in a Lotus Pond

I love this photograph, so much so it is my lock-screen image on my phone. I bent over to take the photograph of the lotus. It was not until I looked at it that I realized my reflection was their. I instantly thought it was one of those good photographs and I went over and showed it to my mom.

4. Boy Among Signs

There is something mesmerizing about the ghats (steps) along the Ganges in Varanasi. I have been to Varanasi twice. Both times it has changed my life. Furthermore, each time you find new scenes along the ghats. I was very excited that I was able to isolate this young man among the hand painted signs on the wall. It may not be obvious in the scale the photo is here but he is looking directly at the camera. It is photo gold.

3. 1970’s Composition Throw-Back

I took this photograph during my time in Hushangabad. I was on a search for the past, for exotic India. What I found was a mixture of the past and the present, seen in this photograph. There is a phone charging on a pillow atop a tradition charpoy bed. My experience with this project taught me much about photography and the reasons we make photographs. I also learned important lessons from a fellow photographer, Andrew Ward. Beyond photography, I learned about the openness of a small community in India. I made new friends and have a new home away from home.

2. An Abandoned Taj Mahal

This has to be one of the most successful photographs I have taken of the Taj Mahal. Everyone loves a pretty picture showing the entire building in symmetrical splendor. However, I think it should be the goal of a photographer to photograph an object in a new way. To tell a new story. The story of this photograph perhaps shows the Taj in the future when its visitors abandon it. Like that will ever happen, ha! The only way people will stop visiting the Taj is if the Indian government closes it down. It will be a long while before that happens because of all the visitors and money it attracts.

I am very excited I was able to get this photograph with no people in it. It gives a new understanding of the monument. Everyone visits and walks around and then leave with their memories and photos. They do not think about the affect their visit has on the monument, the negative affect, like the knocked over temporary barrier.

1. Agra Train Station Selfie

No I am not that vain but sometimes we all should be. I do not always like the way I look because I struggle with my weight. For the first five months of the year I worked really hard to get my weight down. I got it down lower than it had been since I was about 21. Not that weight is everything but it is a challenge for those of us who struggle with it. I think I look cute in this photograph and we all deserve to have photographs we think make ourselves look good. I also like the background of this photograph. It shows the surroundings of the train station and lets people know I am traveling. For self-esteem reasons this photo is number one!

Bonus: Chapter 3 – Along the Road in Amba Mata

Since I am an artist, I have to include an artwork on my list! I knew when I went to Udaipur I wanted to work on a project. This is one of the resulting images. Perhaps the most personal and fundamental I have made so far. I was interested in photographing areas that I spent a lot of time in or moving through and noticing if there had been any changes. In addition to this, some of the images, like this one are autobiographical. In this photograph, in the background, there is a circular area of new asphalt on the ground. When I first visited Udaipur and while I lived there, there was a tree here with a cement barrier around it. Now it is gone. I was told the tree died and fell over. Over that image, is an image of my thighs. Tomorrow I will have a hysterectomy. Dealing with this loss of some of my female organs has been a lot to deal with.

A few days after I took this photograph of my thighs, I sat down and opened up the background image to create an artwork, as I thought about what to do I was thinking about the times I had spent moving through the space in the photograph. I remember while I was in Udaipur the first time for the artist residency. It was evening and the sun was going down. I was walking from the residency to Meropi’s house. I was going to hang out with her and spend the night at her house. As I was walking through this space, I realized my period had started. I did not want to go back to the artist residency, as it was getting late and I was scared of the dogs after dark. So I pushed forward. So here at this moment in time I am loosing my period but I have this funny memory of my period from 2015. Now it is all memorialized in this image.

As it should be, power to the women!

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By |2018-12-26T22:58:21-06:00January 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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