Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India

Holi Festival India Photography

Just before returning home from Bhutan this past March, I made a personal stop in India. Somehow or another I got incredibly lucky as my project with MyBhutan wrapped up just as the famous Holi Festival of Colors had begun.

Experiencing and photographing the festival had always been on my bucket list.

Portrait photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival of Colors in Vrindivan, India
Travel Portrait photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival of Colors in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street Photography of an elderly man during sunset in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival of colors
Street Photography of an elderly man during sunset in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival of colors
Street photography of a man throwing a bucket of water at someone in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a man throwing a bucket of water at someone in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of children dancing and celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street photography of children dancing and celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder in Mathura, India
Street portrait photography of children covered in colorful Holi powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street portrait photography of children celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street photography of a young boy celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as a beam of light shines onto his face
Street photography of a young boy celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as a beam of light shines onto his face
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street Portrait Photography of an elderly man in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival. He has color on his face and in his beard
Travel Portrait Photography of an elderly man in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival.
Street photography of a young boy throwing a bucket of water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a young boy throwing a bucket of water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a girl throwing a bucket of colorful water at a man in the streets of Vrindavan, India during the Holi Festival
Street photography of a girl throwing a bucket of colorful water at a man in the streets of Vrindavan, India during the Holi Festival
Street photography of a young girl spraying people with water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a young girl spraying people with water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Mathura Streets during the 2020 Holi Festival in India
People watching the Holi Festival from windows in India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Gokul, India. The man has colorful holi powder all over his face and shirt
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Gokul, India. The man has colorful holi powder all over his face and shirt
Portrait photography of a man with colorful holi powder covering his face in the streets of Vrindivan, India during the Holi Festival of Colors 2020
Portrait photography of a man with colorful holi powder covering his face in the streets of Vrindivan, India during the Holi Festival of Colors 2020
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India
Street photography of men celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India while covered in colorful powder
Street photography of men celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India while covered in colorful powder
Street Photography of a young girl on her father's shoulders celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in Vrindivan, India
Street Photography of a young girl on her father's shoulders celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in Vrindivan, India
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Street photography of a joyful man celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as flower pedals fall from above
Street photography of a joyful man celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as flower pedals fall from above
Street photography of a boy celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a boy celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a woman celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Travel photography of a woman celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Andrew Studer photographing the Holi Festival from a balcony at a temple in Vrindavan. Photo by Paul V Harrison
Andrew Studer photographing the Holi Festival from a balcony at a temple in Vrindavan. Photo by Paul V Harrison
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

Losar Festival Photography

A photography collection capturing Bhutan's Losar Celebration

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Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

Street Photography in India

A gallery of street photography shot in India

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Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Traditional Bhutanese Dancers

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make several trips out to Bhutan while working on assignment for MyBhutan. The following photo collection contains images that I’ve shot of the country’s various traditional dancers shot in Punakha Valley & Eastern Bhutan.

Traditional snow leopard Bhutan dance photography in Punakha Dzong
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Some of my favorite images were shot during the winter in the tiny, disconnected village of Merak with the Brokpa Tribe in Eastern Bhutan. The Brokpa tribe put on an amazing show and even included a large Yak costume that would at times playfully run towards the audience and come close to ramming them with the horns.

 

After the ceremony, I spent some time doing a portrait session with the tribal dancers, unmasked.

Special thanks to Matthew DeSantis, Tshering Wangdi and Bethany Betzler for taking the following behind the scenes images. Also, big thanks to MyBhtuan for having me onboard to shoot and coordinating with the local dance teams to make this series happen.

photographer andrew studer photographs traditional Bhutanese dancers in front of Punakha Dzong in Bhutan

Bhutan is such a special country to me. I strongly feel like visiting should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, get in touch with the people at MyBhutan and make it happen!


Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

Street Photography in India

Just before returning home from Bhutan this past March, I made a personal stop in India. Somehow or another I got incredibly lucky as my project with MyBhutan wrapped up just as the famous Holi Festival of Colors had begun.

Now before I share the photo collection that I got from the Holi Festival, I wanted to post a quick collection of images that I shot in-between the festivities while roaming the ancient city streets of Mathura and Vrindavan. I hope you enjoy what I came up with!

Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait-street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

While it was honestly somewhat overwhelming at first, I very quickly felt so at home amongst the chaotic hustle & bustle of the city. I spent so much time just wandering through the streets with no specific destination while occasionally stopping to shoot a handful of quick portraits. The people were always kind enough to pause for a moment while I photographed them although I felt like I was happier with the images that I shot candidly.

I also enjoyed photographing the monkeys that roamed the streets. Although they can be slightly aggressive, It was fun blending wildlife photography with street photography while observing how they lived closely amongst humans.

street photography of a monkey climbing a pipe in the streets of Mathura, India
street photography of a monkey climbing a pipe in the streets of Mathura, India

While I ended up spending most of my time shooting your average street photography // portraiture, I slowed down and spent a little bit of time trying to capture the fast pace and chaos of the streets. To do so, I used a slightly longer shutter speed to blur the motion of the background people and vehicles. In hindsight, I wish I spent more time shooting with this style but I know I’ll be back for another go at it once countries begin to reopen and it is safe again to travel.

Street photography is still very new to me but it has quickly become one of my favorite things to photograph. I felt like my time wandering through the streets of Mathura were full of so many amazing and different moments that it was sometimes hard to choose what to point my camera at.

Although it was a relatively short trip, I had an amazing time visiting India. The Holi Festival was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing that image collection within the next couple weeks or so. Thanks for taking the time to check out this photoseries!


A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour

Losar: Bhutanese New Year Celebration

This past February while on Assignment for MyBhutan, I was fortunate enough to be in the Bumthang district of Bhutan during their New Year’s festival known as Losar. It is a festival that reinforces communal ties, strengthens family values and celebrates the amazing cultural traditions of Bhutan. Everyone celebrates differently doing things such as feasting, attending family gatherings, dancing or playing traditional sports like archery and darts.

While out one morning during Losar, I ended up at a small monastery full of young monks. Shortly after I arrived, I saw them run and throw hand fulls of flour at each other. At first, I thought it was part of a prank but then learned that they were preparing to take part in a much larger traditional flour battle in celebration of Losar. With the majority of monks worshipping inside the temple, a small group of other monks gathered outside to ambush them as they exited.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

As the monks finished their worship ceremonies and exited the temple, they were quickly bombarded with friendly hand fulls of flour. As strange of a festival as it may appear, the throwing of roasted barley flour on each other is a symbolic gesture, observed in many monasteries around the country, to usher in Losar.

Photographing the flour battle was some of the most fun I’ve ever had while shooting.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour
A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour
A Bhutanese woman finds herself amongst a flour battle during the Losar Celebration at a monastery in Bhutan
A Bhutanese woman finds herself amongst a flour battle during the Losar Celebration at a monastery in Bhutan
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
A young Bhutanese monk gets flour thrown at him during the Losar Celebration at a monastery.
Portrait photography of a young monk in Bhutan with flour on his face and robes from the Losar Festival
Portrait photography of a young monk in Bhutan with flour on his face and robes from the Losar Festival
A group of Bhutanese monks participating in the Losar New Year Festival at a Monastery in Central Bhutan
A group of Bhutanese monks participating in the Losar New Year Festival at a Monastery in Central Bhutan
Portrait photography of two Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the Losar Celebration in Bhutan
Portrait photography of two Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the Losar Celebration in Bhutan
A group of Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the New Year celebration at a temple in Bhutan
A group of Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the New Year celebration at a temple in Bhutan
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of a young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) in Bumthang, Central Bhutan

Throughout the entire morning, the monks made me feel completely welcome and made it such an incredible experience. They even invited me into the battle and spent so much time kindly teaching me their traditional dances and songs before inviting me inside for lunch.

 

One monk was kind enough to record the video of me going through the lineup. I never got his name but I’m beyond thankful he was able to capture this memory for me. I can’t express how welcoming all the monks were to me. I felt so fortunate to spend Losar with them and hope to be back again next year.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you’re interested in visiting Bhutan, I highly recommend getting in touch with MyBhutan to plan your trip!

Related Post:

Holi Festival of Colors Photography

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