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Feng Liu Chicago | Feng Liu Street Photography - Little India

I still smell the curry and onion when I look at these pictures which I took at Little India in Singapore about 27 years ago.

During my first visit of the Little India, I walked into the neighborhood and I saw several hundreds of people gathered at an empty place and I heard large noises all around. The people there just were talking each other. No chairs and no drinks, just talking. I was a bit scared when I first saw them, but quickly I found they were kind. No danger at all. Then I continued to walk to the street and suddenly saw hundreds of shoes piled up at the door of a building. My first thought was: were these shoes on sale or what. All of those shoes were sandals. They were piled up as high as almost 4 to 5 feet. I soon discovered that this was an Indian temple and I was told I had to take off my shoes before I was allowed to go inside of the temple. I wondered if I left my shoes with other the hundred other shoes mixed together, how I would find my own shoes when I came out from the temple. So I just carried my shoes with my camera bag. This was my first time walking into an Indian Temple to take pictures. I was very stunned and surprised at what I saw there. The colorfulness and smells were my deepest impressions.

Since then, I couldn’t stop to go to Little India to take pictures for almost a year. The original cultures were well protected over there. It was a very colorful and religious place, a hot and humid one at that. The people enjoyed their life styles. Every time I came back home from Little India, my clothes and my body carried the smells of curry and onion. I remember first time when came back home after taking pictures there, I couldn’t figure out where these smell came from. I soon found out when I smelled my clothes.

This was my very first time taking pictures at one place constantly. My very first mentoring teacher Mr.Goh Kim Hui gave me a very helpful tip: keep the picture as simple as possible in one frame. One picture, one topic, one story and no more. Yes, less is more. Since then I always use this principle for all of my pictures. It works for me.

Little India is an excellent example on how to successfully preserve a mini culture within a highly developed country. My hope is that this Little India will always maintain its traditions and uniqueness.


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