The Yamuna, in black and white

Old?

India today still exists spread across generations and centuries: old and new, modern and traditional, renovated and decrepit, built-up and torn-down, present and past.

A simple, fuzzy black and white photo of today can seem like something from a different era. Here, the squalid but holy Yamuna river flows behind the Taj Mahal.

I tell my students that in the context of photojournalism, black and white photography is too often a artistic gimmick. Not always, but most of the time. I feel grayscale makes an image look more “stunning” by covering up poor lighting and colors and adding contrast. I argue, if an image can run in color — and if the goal of journalism to is to capture reality — it should run in color.

So a gimmick, yes. But a beautiful one, nonetheless.

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Mughal mosque

Kabutar and mosque

The mosque to the west of the Taj Mahal is a superb example of Mughal-era architecture. And it’s too often ignored by tourists who are focused on the gorgeous monument just to the east.

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You can’t stop staring

Stunning

The Taj Mahal, western elevation, from the archway of the adjacent mosque.

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The world’s most beautiful building

Classic

My fourth trip to the Taj Mahal. It’s still overwhelmingly beautiful.

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Children of the fort

Brother and sister

Young ones wandering at Agra Fort. Maybe looking for tourists to harangue. Or to be harangued by tourists (read: me).

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Cool marble, bare feet

Cute

What do you do when it’s hot outside and you have to remove your shoes before visiting a mosque?

Run like a little kid on the shaded marble floor!

These from an out of the way mosque at the beautiful Agra Fort.

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Protected: You’re in India. Don’t say cheese.

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She really does steal the show

Even from a few kilometers away, the Taj Mahal is distracting

Agra Fort seems less interesting when there’s the world’s most beautiful building off in the background.

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Classic monument, different angle

Reflecting pool

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Quiet sunrise, empty mosque

Sweeping out the dust

At sunrise, as the tourists shuffle into the Taj Mahal complex, the mosque to the west is nearly quiet. Except for a few wanderers and the caretaker. Photos below.

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