The Portfolio

Going Deep in India: A Photographer's Journey

by Mehdi Hasan
Sadhus Sadhus chilling at the Ghat of Varanasi. All photos by Mehdi Hasan.

India bursts with color and culture, making it a bucket list item for many an adventurer. Dhaka-based photographer Mehdi Hasan is quite familiar with the allure — he spends up to a month at a time traveling across the country, observing people, and documenting their traditions. From Sadhus at Varanasi — where the dead are ritually burned and their ashes spread in the Ganges for reincarnation — to monks in Darjeeling, Mehdi's photographs reveal the spiritual richness held dear to many Indian cultures.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a Dhaka-based photographer and visual artist. I occasionally write a bit, too. I was always fascinated by making images and artworks from stock photos. But it wasn't until I was fed up with educational, social, and peer pressures that I started traveling. I began sharing my experiences and eventually developed a passion for photographing various cultures and people.

How would you describe your photography style?

Staying still. That's how I would describe my process. I always end up waiting in a place for a long time and taking photos in burst mode. This gives me the chance to capture photos in various compositions while also taking in the subject matter.

What do you love about photographing on the road?

Meeting lots of different people and getting to know them is one of my favorite aspects of the job. I also love the sudden photographic opportunities that appear out of nowhere. Photographing unknown places gives me tremendous joy. There are certain challenges, especially when taking portraits (I love taking portraits): You don't know how the people will react. I find it's best to talk with them before doing any photographing.

Where are you headed next?

I haven't decided. India is a vast country with various cultures. It would take a lifetime if one truly wants to portray India properly. But I do have East Asia and Europe on my mind. Let's see what happens!


Golden Evening Light in the Cathedral.
Colors of Varanasi.
The Woman Who Sells Little Plants.
Stone Chariot at Vitthala Temple.
Young Monks in Darjeeling.
The Lovely Shopkeeper.
Japanese Temple at Darjeeling.
The Man with the Beard. He Did Not Know His Age.
A Boat.
The Young Horseman Calls for Customers.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.