Long Term Project: Riding Rickshaw

I've been working on Riding Rickshaw for more than three years. It will continue until I'm no longer a resident of Mumbai.

The best projects are simple ones. Riding Rickshaw is simply about me photographing subjects of Mumbai while riding as passenger in an auto-rickshaw. I've also extended the parameters to allow for pictures of rickshaws and their drivers, rickshawallahs.

My archives for this project date back to at least January of 2017, when I was working on my everyday project #3StrangersAday. While that one-year project ended formally on December 31st of that year, the idea of Riding Rickshaw continued well beyond.

There are several reasons why I love this project. For starters, I love riding in rickshaws and I use them by preference whenever I travel the northern suburbs of Mumbai (they are not allowed in old Bombay). Naturally, I began taking pictures as part of my Point A to Point B travel itineraries, although my hit-rate usually isn't as high due to the obvious physical constraints: shooting from a moving vehicle, from a very limited perspective in the backseat.

But what limitations I have are offset by the occasional perspective that I wouldn't otherwise have shooting street photography on foot. Shooting from traffic gives me a nice and literal view of "life on the streets." I'm also able to capture fellow commuters that would otherwise be difficult to do shooting from pedestrian zones. The added bonus is a lower profile for me as both foreigner and a photographer: my subjects seldom see me coming before I photograph them, if at all.

I consider the project a refreshing challenge from my usual shooting mode as a pedestrian. While I've used many different lenses, I believe my favorite is fast becoming the 35mm focal length because if I sit back all the way in my seat, I can just capture the driver and all the window/front view. Also, it's nearly perfect for capturing frames outside my seat, a balanced go-between for telephoto and wide angle. You can view the shots I have so far in my Flickr album.

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