Scotland

In pictures: South Asian culture in Scotland over 30 years

Dancers at Old College Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Nandini and Agomoni dancing at Old College in Edinburgh
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It was a bitter day in March when Hermann Rodrigues arrived in Scotland for the first time.

As the wind and rain battered down onto his skin he thought: "It's too cold."

Yet almost 30 years later, he says there's not a day that goes by where he isn't grateful for being able to live in such a beautiful country.

Bani Bhattacharya in Kirkcaldy Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Bani Bhattacharya is a singer who lives in Kirkcaldy in Fife
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After moving over from North West India in 1990, Hermann began taking photos of everything in Scotland which had links back to South Asia.

He has now amassed an impressive collection of more than 30,000 photographs.

Ayrshire farmers Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Suryaveer and Bonita made a lifestyle choice to travel to Scotland six months ago and become farmers in Ayrshire
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Hermann says: "In my spare time, I travel all over Scotland.

"From Stornoway to Dumfries, I love to find stories from people with South Asian origins who have made Scotland their home."

Boys at a wedding feast Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Three boys enjoying the food at a wedding feast
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Hermann believes that many people do not realise that there are a lot of different countries that make up South Asia.

He says: "All of the countries that come under the banner of 'South Asian' are actually very many miles away from each other.

"Each of these countries has their own unique culture, language and religion.

"I am so interested in finding out about all of these different cultures through my photography."

Good Friday on Arthur's Seat Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption The Christian community from the southern Indian state of Kerala praying on Arthur’s Seat on Good Friday
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Hermann feels that every person he has met has their own special story to tell.

"There is such a lot of diversity within each community.

Holi at St Andrews beach Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Students from the University of St Andrews celebrating Holi, which is the Indian festival of colours
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"It has taken me quite a long time to break the ice and get to know each community that has ties to South Asia.

"Anything that a community does, I take a picture of it."

Sikh procession Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption A Sikh procession through the streets of Glasgow in the early 1990s
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Over the past 30 years, Hermann has watched the South Asian community change drastically.

He says: "Before, there was little migration from South Asia; the majority of people I met were descendents of people who came over after the war.

"Now, the South Asian community is so diverse and the variety of culture is so rich."

Coriander and spice garden in St. Andrews Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption A chef of Bangladeshi origin tends to his coriander and spice garden behind his restaurant in St Andrews in Fife
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He says that what he finds fascinating about his project is that it is ever-changing.

"As the community changes, the culture changes, and so my photographs change," he adds.

"I guess you could call it one man's labour of love."

Bhangra dancers from Glasgow Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Performers from Glasgow ready for some Bhangra, the traditional folk dance from the region of Punjab
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Through his work, he tries to take photographs of absolutely anything that is South Asian in Scotland.

"Whether it be streets, people, monuments; I take a picture of it," Hermann explains.

"There are approximately 30,000 photos, and not one photo is the same as another.

Edinburgh Sikh tartan Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Bruce Singh with a friend wearing an Edinburgh Sikh Tartan
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"Even if the subject is similar to another photo, it is still different because people and places change as time goes on.

"I have photos of people when they were children, and I have photos of them as they are now.

"There is always a different story to gather."

A Pakistani wedding in Stornoway in the 90s Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption A Pakistani wedding in Stornoway in the Western Isles in the 1990s
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The photographer says you can see a lot of Scottish influences in many of the photos that he takes.

"When you go to weddings, for example, there is often a brilliant fusion of cross-culture from Scotland and South Asia," he says.

"I love these kind of photographs as it shows the variety of culture that there is within the South Asian community."

A restaurateur in Edinburgh Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption An Indian restaurateur standing in front of a billboard for British Steel in the 1990s
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And he says he consciously chooses to only capture really positive photographs of people.

"There is enough negativity in the world.

"I like to demonstrate moments of happiness through my pictures.

Mehul Garg, Kathak dancer Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Mehul Garg is a chief marketing officer by day and a passionate Kathak dancer by night
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"I don't tend to take photos of anyone famous.

"I like to take pictures of absolutely anyone; from body builders to church leaders.

"I've even taken photographs of South Asian people who live in the Western isles and speak fluent Gaelic."

Eid in the meadows Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption In the early 90s, Muslims from various mosques in Edinburgh celebrated Eid together in the Meadows
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Hermann continues to live in Edinburgh but hopes to travel more to the Highlands in the future.

"Taking photos is something that I want to keep doing forever," he says.

"I am always looking for new stories."

Wedding party Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption The groom and his party enjoy a wee dance before heading to the wedding ceremony
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Along with his photographs, Hermann is also writing his first novel, based on his experiences in Scotland.

Since 1990, he has loved embracing all aspects of the Scottish lifestyle - from attending traditional weddings to climbing mountains.

He has even learned to put up with the weather.

Jara Singh on his wedding day Image copyright Hermann Rodrigues
Image caption Jara Singh on his wedding day in the early 1990s

All images are subject to copyright

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