The Story Behind the Woman in Yellow

It’s one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken during the course of my travels. It was popular when I shared it on Instagram, garnering over 3K likes and more than 120 comments. It was taken with permission at the Amer Fort or Amber Fort or Palace in Amer in the state of Rajasthan in India; not far from Jaipur, about 11 kilometers. It was originally built by Raja Man Singh and additions were later made by Sawai Jai Singh. Amer is part of several other Rajput fortresses that collectively were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.


The Woman in Yellow

A woman in a yellow sari is seen bathed in the golden light of the end of the day at Shila Mata Mandir [Amber Fort]. When I took the image originally, I was just drawn to her. Looking back at it now, I love the imperfection of the moment.  She’s not quite perfectly centered. The architecture isn’t entirely straight. It is a scene that imbues me with warmth every time I see it. I sought her permission before taking the photo but she wasn’t posing. She was going about her work of sweeping up in the fort and happened to be in the right place, at the right time – for an image like this to be possible.

This image is for sale in my print shop for a limited time. After a conversation about profiting from portraiture in foreign countries with my friend and fellow photographer Mutua Matheka in Nairobi, I may be taking it down.

But for now, it stands as a testament to the beauty you can find in India and the warmth of the people who have always made my visits to the country some of the best of my career.

If you haven’t yet been to India, I hope you will consider visiting to seek out your own experiences like this. It’s a country that rewards the culturally-curious traveler.


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