This is a guest post by Scott Jarvie, a photographer based in Utah.
So this is Holi: The Festival of Colors
The Holi festival in Utah is one of the largest of it's kind (outside of Asia) in the world. This is what wikipedia says about Holi.
Two years ago I first heard of the event which had been growing over the years from some devotees and handful of local college students to where it is now some devotees and a mass of college students and others. I was lucky enough to take the iconic picture that year (Below), which is still probably one of my favorites.
Last year one of my biggest regrets of the year was taking an out of state wedding instead of heading back to the festival. This year I would have none of that and not only went to the event but organized 12 other photographers to come and take pictures to amass in a huge gallery for the benefit of the attendees and the temple. Between the 10+ photographers we walked away with 10,000 pictures and in the end we came up with a gallery of 4992 pictures. The reason for so many is because this was for the attendees and when you have well over 15,000 people there are rarely duplicates of the same person… unless of course they were doing something fun or were covered uniquely. You can see the pictures divided by each photographer here. Including mine of course.
In some circles I'm known as the Jarvie of the “Jarvie Window” experience. (Strobist) So of course I snapped a few pictures ala that style.
Wedding photographers might find it interesting that I also arranged for some clients and friends to show up in wedding dresses.
BUT what is the Festival of Colors?
It takes place at the Radha Krishna Temple located at 311 West 8500 South Spanish Fork, Utah 84660.
(Above) The temple is a unique and perhaps out of place building in the middle of a farming community in a highly LDS (Mormon) Utah. They pack them in. Estimates vary widely. They don't do an official count … but my guess would be somewhere between 15-25k (that range is pretty safe, I know).
(Above) this is hours before the color starts, but close parking is limited so they come in early.
The temple's priest, Caru Das Adikari (Below) runs the show and helped make the temple and the Krishna community happen in Utah County.
They have dancing and of course chanting but the big event is when they do the count down, burn the witch, usher in the spring and throw the colors.
A crowd this size makes for more than a couple wonderfully candid and fun moments (Below)
(above) and the not so candid
There are a lot of people with cameras (Below) Both DSLRs and everyone with their own point and click. It's actually a whole lot safer to go in with a nice sealed Pro camera than these little point and clicks, but a bit of plastic bags to go around and anyone's camera is decently safe from the colored (Corn Maize) powder found in one of the 50,000 bags they sell on the property.
Of course… People get covered with colors. That's kind of the point for those going.
They come dressed pretty uniquely (Below)
While the majority of people are students is also very much a family event. Good clean fun you may say (Below)
Other details and portraits
If you're in town next March or you want to go out of your way to make it down here, get a hold of me, because I'm sure we're going to do it again. Maybe even have a larger group of photographers this time.
I used to write posts about how to protect the cameras but after 2 events I've decided that this is actually such a non-issue that I will no longer coddle the weak. I said to myself why am I so concerned about curing people's worries and getting more photographers there? All are invited (by the organizers and of course me) but it's not for everyone. I didn't do anything to protect my stuff the first time and this last time I used saran wrap and gaffer tape and both times my cameras were totally fine. So this is about all I'll say on this subject.
We should be talking about the pictures, the totally unique and fun experience.
Go and see a whole bunch more divided into lots of categories. Like crowd surfing, color throwing, Jarvie Window and the Krishna Temple.
Tell us what you thought of this post! I look forward to your comments. Thank you!