The walls in the vestibule of the Institute Menezes Braganza building in the heart of Panjim (capital city of Goa) are decorated with exquisite Azulejos. The scenes depicted are taken from the poem Os Lusíadas by the Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões. For more on Azulejos, see this.
Photographing the Azulejos in Panjim presents two challenges. One is the lighting – the only opening for natural light is through the main door in a direction parallel to the walls, and this results in highly uneven illumination across their length. The interior lighting is not helpful, since it consists of a tubelight which does nothing more than reflect blobs of specular highlights from the walls. Without an elaborate secondary lighting set-up, the only recourse is to correct for and balance the illumination in post-processing.
The second difficulty is the narrow width of the passageway itself, which leaves little room for backing out. A standard ultra-wide angle lens will take in the entire scene but render the vertical lines convergent. This issue was presently addressed through the use of the magnificent TS-E 17L lens.
A quick rendering of a couple of Azulejos is presented below. As can be expected from the asymmetrical illumination, the tonal and colour balance show variation across the two frames as well as within each frame.
This lady – she said she was from the village of Uccasaim – hovered in the background and after I was done shooting, insisted that I take her portrait.
Mr Rajan Parrikar, your work is truly spectacular. You are recording history in Goa that is fast vanishing. May you have all the resources to continue this excellent work. Rock on. Wow. Truly spectacular pictures Best wishes Ashok Lobo
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You just may have captured something serial about Goan pathos. I think she represents more than herself. I wish she had looked straight at you—into the lens. On the other hand the complete page invites a more nuanced reading of colonial encounters—and losers too.
Wow the detail & clarity – not only of the azulejos but other photos of beauty on the site – every palm frond, every blade of grass discernible. But most of all, the angle of the photography indicates an artist behind the camera.
Hararoj dekha, man kabhi bhara nahi, Ek bar dekha, trupt ho gaya.
Very impressive indeed. It is said “a picture is worth a thousand words” Well done Rajan.
The Azulejos were a useful propaganda tool to further the grandeur of Portugues rule in Goa.
It is a fascinating story of the Women and children of sailors, at the mouth of the River Taurus in Lisbon who set sail for unknown land of fabulous wealth and grandeur. Note that this is a tale of the social structure then prevalent in Portugal when the King and the Church encourage the poor illiterate sailors to go forth at the risk of their lives.
It is a tribute to the generosity of spirit shown by the people of Goa of the 15th century to receive the visitors to their shore with kindness and hospitality. Notice that after their long voyage they were dispirited, hungry and ridden with disease. However, this was not reciprocated by the invaders who came more to obtain silks and spices for their principals in Europe and carried out merciless murder of a highly cultured and generous people. No Jesuit or other of the many Church orders have left a tribute to the generosity of the Goan People. Perhaps the younger generation will address the void.
Sadly the Church were co-sponsors of this endeavour and historian from the West have extolled the whole exercise as one of unparalled achievments of the time. Mario Miranda has depicted this wholesale destruction of the Buildings, and Institution in one of his social comentary cartoons.
Hope that Mario’s cartoon will one day be transalated into permanent displays for the common people.
One lives in Hope.
Rajan, the pictures are excellent and do you credit as an accomplished photographer.
You do service to Goa by photographing the sights that may one day well disappear if the authorities decide to raze the building and put up a seven storied structure. You never can tell!
Great pictures. You should upload this on wikipedia or link it there.
It is amazing how a tripod mounted camera can show you so much more than you see with your eye ! Great work Rajan. Also great service to Goa for archiving these works of art.
I like the pic no. 1 above.
So beautiful, clear and natural.
As for the lady, Maria Fernandes in the pic above, we too see her loitering around that area. It also appears that she is very popular with the Panjim police Station, which is in the same builing behind Police HQ.
Brilliantly captured. Credit not only to the lens but also the photographer.
Fab stuff!! You make no mention whether you used a tripod and how long did you need to take these shots within the confines of the IMB.