The banks of the River Ganges in India, at the city of Varanasi, is known for the ceremonial bathing many Hindus do there. There are sections along the bank, however, bustling with people engaged in all manner of activities.
This photo shows a young man shaving a child’s head. One woman, presumably the child’s mother, holds him in her lap. Another, older lady, perhaps the child’s grandmother, looks on.
For me, this picture is all about the expressions of the four people in the center of the action and the center of the photo.
First of all, the child. I assume he is not sleeping, although he appears to be very calm, especially given that a complete stranger is shaving his head. The man looks quite relaxed, too: one can imagine he is quite experienced. He is holding the child’s head in a stable grip, fingers evenly splayed, while his right hand works with the razor.
The two women, though, look anything but relaxed. The mother appears the calmer of the two, and yet she is still keeping a close eye on proceedings. The grandmother looks to be quite tense, her eyes squinting slightly, her mouth locked in an apprehensive grimace, as if she can barely look but knows she needs to watch carefully.
And it’s no wonder: however experienced the young man may be, he’s not using a safety razor. That’s a straight razor he’s holding to the infant’s head.
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)