Postcard from Our Traveler: Travel Through the Lens by Susan Cohen
I come from a family of travelers. My dad hitchhiked across the United States (for fun) in the late 1920s. My brother B explored the Amazon when trading in plastic containers was a monumental event! My sister H rode horseback across Kenya and my brother J loves back roads in his 4WD vehicle. I choose to take my camera to colorful places and explore exciting new cultures with an open mind and a smile.
Travel in India—just saying the name puts all five senses into overdrive! But, my story is more about the people I saw, met, smiled with, and felt the bonds of our common humanity.
Varanasi, on the Ganges river, is the holiest of Holy cities. Multitudes come to bathe in the sacred waters. But, [above] is my photo of a young boy sullenly rolling a large green leaf for his family’s betel business. Does he wish he were playing soccer with his friends? Did he pray earlier that morning? Does he question what his adult life will be like? Is he there day after day? What if I were his mother? How I wish I had the ability to sit with him and share our stories.
Pushkar This portrait of a camel trader is one of my favorites. Look at his eyes! Can’t you just see his pride and strength? I imagine him as a leader in his tribe, the husband of a beautiful wife with a jeweled nose ring and a father to strong sons. He later turned, smiled and invited us to share a smoke.
Deogarth Village We spent a wonderful night in a palace converted for guests and had sundowners with the Maharani, a beautiful, gracious woman with perfect English. She was so welcoming and eager to discuss motherhood across our cultures and the choices her daughters now have. The next morning I strolled through the village by myself, greeting everyone who was up and about as early as I was. I happened upon an elderly woman sitting against a turquoise door. She saw my camera and shyly lifted her sari and smiled so I could capture her photo. Her only wish was to see my LCD display. I wanted to hug her and tell her how beautiful she was to me in her age and wisdom.
India is priceless! You must go!
When Susan Cohen retired from early childhood education in 2001, her gift was a 1 megapixel camera. She has since plunged into photography, taking several years of Fine Art Photography classes to refine her craft. Her dedication has paid off—she was published in National Geographic Traveler in April, 2009; made the cover of Shutterbug magazine in July, 2009; and several of her pictures are displayed on Schmap.com. Susan also took 2nd Place in the Asia Transpacific Journeys Client Photo Contest 2009. Whether it’s spending time with her six grandchildren or traveling the globe, Susan and her camera are ready for the next adventure!