Blog - Category Archives: Documentary

Aravan’s wedding

Koovagam transgender festival

Aravan’s wedding is a festival of transgender and transvestite individuals which takes place in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April/May) in the village of Koovagam in Tamil Nadu, India. It is held at the Koothandavar Temple dedicated to Aravan (Koothandavar). The participants marry the Lord Koothandavar, thus reenacting an ancient myth of Lord Vishnu/Krishna who married him having taken the female form. According to myth, Aravan had to sacrifice himself the next day to help his clan win in battle, so the day after the wedding all brides mourn his death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles.

The festival also serves as a platform to create awareness for transgender discrimination and prejudice which still exist in mainstream society, not limited to India.

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Pasqua processions, Holy week Easter processions in Sicily

Devoted. Italians take their Christian faith very seriously. And they show it in public.

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Video: Don’t call me a woman

Sandhiya from Madurai (Tamil Nadu, India) has the body of a woman but feels like a man. She wants to be called Raja only. Raja has been receiving threats for years but when they became life threatening, Raja and his mother had to quickly move to a temporary home in Chennai.

Copyright Frank Röhrig

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India – Kushti

Kushti wrestling in Mumbai and Kolhapur, India

Kushti has its origins in Parthia (Persia) dating back to around 1000 BCE. Wrestlers submit to a stringent life codex that prescribes diet, conduct and even religion. In India, Kushti is linked to the monkey god Hanuman, so every Kushti Arkhada (school) has its own Hanuman shrine and wrestlers pray to him before a fight. Kushti is a sport philosophy that is reserved for men only.

Central to a wrestler’s life is his physical condition. Soft drugs such as alcohol, (chewing) tabacco or even coffee and tea are not allowed. Wrestler live off a high-energy diet that is supposed to build up body …

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Afghanistan - The WakhanDocumentary series of the people of the Wakhan, Afghanistan.

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Along the Pamir Highway – Tajikistan

Pamir Highway - TajikistanThe original Pamir Highway is part of the legendary Silk Road that led from China and India toward Europe and the Middle East. Much of the road runs along the River Panj, or Amurdarja, which flows into the Aral Sea.

We picked up the trail at Dushanbe in the Tajik lowlands. Civilization’s grasp fades with every mile driving into the Pamirs. Was it not for a few narrow, fertile river valleys, the Pamirs would be completely empty. A 2-day drive takes you to Khorog, an island of relative comfort and civilization in a vast mountain range.

We tried to reach the Geisev valley but due to the high Bartang river, the road was blocked and we didn’t want to take the mountain pass. Having failed to reach the valley we asked in a local village to stay in someone’s house. We were warmly welcomed and fed (potatoes) by the locals, but our thin skin was not able to withstand the relentless attacks that followed during the night. Various bed bugs/fleas/mosquitos ate us alive. We were mere junior training partners for those bugs from hell. In the morning, we limped away, utterly beaten.

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Ethiopia – The Ultra-Orthodox North

Ethiopia - The Orthodox NorthReligious devotion is a quality many northern Ethiopians carry on the outside.

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Uganda – Massaka Hair Salon

Massaka Hair SalonThe high mortality rate of HIV positive people rips through the Ugandan society, leaving many children orphaned. Without the support of their immediate family, children are often left to fend for themselves. There are NGO initiatives underway to alleviate this problem. One such initiative arranges vocational training for orphans to help them learn a profession and eventually earn their own living. The hair salon in this essay trains two orphans supported by the NGO Uweso. This photo essay covers a normal working day from morning until evening for one of the trainees. Her name is Hilda and she is 16 years old.

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Kireka Quarry – Uganda

Kireka Quarry, Uganda

Destitute refugees in Uganda are struggling to make a living by breaking stone in a quarry in Kireka near Kampala.

Check out the full slideshow in the portfolio section

Copyright Frank Röhrig

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