Mar 6, 2011

Danny Lehmann visit - Day 1

Something quite incredible happened today. A truly extraordinary circle of life was completed! I met Vinokur’s best friend Danny Lehmann, a master photographer and a wonderful human being, and hung out with him all through the afternoon and evening. I still remember Vinokur introducing me and Danny to each other three years ago on Skype. Little did we know that such a thing would happen! That’s the mystery of life.

Danny was in Mumbai as part of a photographic assignment to India. He's trying to capture images that symbolize the rise of India as a financial and information technology superpower. He had already been to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur and had captured the some iconic images from there. Vinokur had let me known that Danny was in India but I hadn’t a clue that he was visiting Mumbai until yesterday when Vinokur asked me if I could help Danny by finding some guide/friend kinda person who would help Danny get around the city taking photos.

Even though I asked around, I wasn’t able to find anyone to accompany Danny. For starters, I arranged for Danny to visit the Bandra-Worli sealink and take pictures of it through my contacts. Then, I promised him that I would meet him Sunday afternoon and take him around town to see if he could find some interesting things to catch on camera. I had rehearsal in the morning and I rushed down to Churchgate on my way to the Trident where Danny was staying.

It was incredible to run into him at the lobby where he was waiting for me. I couldn’t quite believe what was happening when we exchanged greetings. We felt an instant connect – through our common, dear friend Vinokur – and felt comfortable with each other immediately. We went up to his room, looked at the map, and planned our outing for the night. We rented a cab and went to the BSE (which was cordoned off for photography), Girgaum Chowpatty, Haji Ali, Phoenix Mills, and Atria mall (both malls were off-limits for photographers too).

Danny finally ended up choosing Girgaum Chowpatty as the location for shooting some prolonged-exposure shots of the skyline just after sunset. After he set the tripod up and his adjusted his camera to take pictures, we had a 15-strong crowd of locals as audience. One young man, who seemed to be extremely interested in photography, almost acted like a bouncer for us shooing off random people from straying across the camera’s field and around the tripod.

After Danny’s got his share of pics, we went back to the room and deposited the camera and the tripod, freshened ourselves up and headed out for a dinner at a pub at the Marine Plaza hotel. I can’t quite remember the name of the pub, but the ambiance was excellent. We had draft beer and a hamburger each. The conversation was brilliant and funny and ranged from Libya to photography to women.

My next date with Danny seems to be on Tuesday afternoon because I couldn’t get leave from work on Monday and I have to work half-day on Tuesday. Hoping for another masterclass in human company and photography!

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