Massive flood lights light up one of the staging areas for the Thaipusam pilgrims.
For the past few years that I have been covering Thaipusam I have always shot using a flash early in the morning. I often use a technique called dragging the shutter or rear curtain sync. Today I wanted to try something different. I spent much of my morning shooting with available light, with a few exceptions. These are images from day two of Thaipusam.
A devotee with his Paal Kavadi is ready for his walk to begin.
As a spirit enters a woman she screams and contorts her face and body. This is one of the few shots I used flash on today.
This man was smoking a large cigar all the while seemingly under the influence of a spirit.
Coconuts filled with items of worship are used as offerings.
A priest lights a coconut to give to a devotee to offer an idol.
This Chinese devotee holds a coconut with a flame and incense while praying before an idol.
Another devotee and her offering.
Some devotees roll instead of walk through the pilgrimage. (flash)
While rolling the devotee holds a coconut over his head. (flash)
The devotee stops before the idol and prays.
Two devotees pray before an idol as other pilgrims walk past.
Pilgrims pray to an idol en route to the main temple.
Some men cover their bodies with small pails. Plus this man attached hooks to his back as an act of devotion.
While in a trance-like state, this devotee’s hooks are pulled against his flesh.
A woman with flowers and a pail of milk (pal Kavadi) proceeds up to the main temple and the climax of the pilgrimage.
This devotee waits for the vel or hooks and spears to be removed from his body.
The hooks attached to the back of many devotees
The hooks are kept taut throughout the walk by the devotee’s friend.
This man grimaces in pain as the hooks are removed from his back.
With her pilgrimage complete, this young woman relaxes at the door the temple.
Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer.
In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.