Welcome to Chapter One, India. In pursuit of spring reverie, we ventured to where it first began in Jaipur. We collaborated with renowned local photographer Naveli Choyal, to capture this season’s colourful block print pieces and embroidered treasures. The campaign was shot in the hotel Samode Haveli in Jaipur, a 225-year-old Indian mansion set in a verdant garden with apartments arranged around the central courtyard and gardens.
We spoke to Navali about her craft, her inspirations, and her experience of shooting our campaign in Jaipur.
What drew you to pursue your passion of photography as a career?
My interest in photography was developed sometime during my early teens. At that time, I was taking photographs of objects and landscapes around me. Although I was thoroughly enjoying the process, I never took my interest seriously. Like a very typical Indian family, any creative or artistic career stream was never made a part of ‘career discussion’ at home, so for me, the idea of becoming a photographer felt very strange and unrealistic.
Later, when I switched between my career and moved to a new college to study fashion design, my love and interest in photography grew stronger.
After working as a fashion designer for 4-5 years in the industry, I quit my job and took the leap of faith to finally pursue photography professionally. It was something that felt true to me and the process of creating came naturally to me.
I’m drawn to capturing the moment of the colours, the light and the overall mood of a place or setting. There is such a rawness in beauty and places.
We shot the campaign in Jaipur, what is your relationship with the city?
Although my maternal family is based in Jaipur, I haven’t ever lived there, however most of my summers growing up were spent at my maternal grandmother’s home in Jaipur where my aunts and I would play games, enjoy Nani’s kitchen bliss, and sleep. For me, I resonate Jaipur with old warm lazy summer days and my family.
The old-world charm of Jaipur is not new for me. My maternal family has lived and worked in the old city for several years. In the recent past, I have come across many stories about my family members leading different professions such as toy making, photography, jewellery making, etc., and these personal stories associated with Jaipur are helping me change my perspective, feel closer to the city, and inspire me in little ways.
It was a bright sunny day when I was shooting for Monsoon. It was nostalgic for me to walk around the city where I spent my childhood summer days, and to be able to see the new places still maintaining the charm and beauty of the city fills me up with joy.
We shot at Samode Haveli, what drew you to this magical place for the campaign?
Samode Haveli is a very intimate place and reflects the old-world charm of the city with the beautiful walls and overall space. As the garments were occasion pieces, the setting worked perfectly for the shoot and for the story of the brand. I found the place to be a fine bridge between the cultural and modern aesthetic.
How did you prepare for the shoot to get yourself into the frame of mind?
I try to make my shoot mornings completely stress-free; I generally start my mornings with chai, a wholesome breakfast, and some silence. This exercise helps me to streamline my day and the shoot. When I am working my entire mind and body is focused on the work.
What are some of your favourite moments to capture?
I love to document my culture, everyday stories & objects, fashion, landscape, textiles, and cultural communities! I feel connected to the raw beauty of the city which has age-old stories to tell. The everyday life of the city and how it is executed with such flawless ease never ceases to amaze me, and it is this phenomenon that I love to capture.