The White Owl

The North-East Shoot by Fabien Charuau and Nikhil D

Serendipity seems to have a quantitative value in the fashion photography world. Packed tightly with coded meanings, a fashion photograph doesn’t leave much space for emotion. In India, we have been importing the code from the west and sticking it diligently on our visuals. The fashion code looks good and makes our magazines look international. And it is rare that its validity is questioned in our locale. I started my photographic career as a fashion photographer and now share my life between commercial assignments and my own (more conceptual) photography. Nikhil D. is a stylist for whom fashion means more than copying what has already been encrypted somewhere else. For us this collaboration was a salutary gesture in the monotony of editorial photography.

These portraits are faces of a new age and diversified world. They come from a culturally rich part of India: the North East. Among them is a professional model/theatre actor, a make up artist, a wedding gown designer and a bartender who all live and work in Mumbai. Angela grew up in Shillong, Meghalaya, and moved to Mumbai to study and Jacky chose to move to the west after spending his younger years in New Delhi studying design. Zing and Sam are best friends from Ukhrul in Manipur and now share an apartment and a long lasting friendship in the city. On Daniel’s  arms are a bunch of self-inflicted tattoos, from when he was experimenting with tribal bamboo needles.

The final images are proof that in India the fashion code can still be tweaked, and a fashion photo can still pack an aesthetic emotion and a political message.


Reception: Wednesday, March 18, 8.30pm onwards

One Indiabulls Center, Tower 2 Lobby, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel 022 2421 0231 //
Open daily, 12pm – 1.30am