STRAND GALLERY PREVIEW: Wanderlust by Rohit Chawla

The Strand Gallery in association with NuGa Arthouse is proud to present Rohit Chawla’s Wanderlust, a spectacular collection of photographs capturing the powerful and raw human spirit of the Rabari tribe of the Indian region of Gujurat. This intimate series of bold photographs portrays a small, private, nomadic community, while rendering a narrative through portraiture, with a sense of the community’s raw and primal power. Chawla goes beyond the confines of traditional photography and creates a set of sensational images which express his belief in the ‘long, magical process’ of analogue photography. The compositional accuracy of this series, reveal the protagonists of a fascinating community who have retained their identities over hundreds of years, expressed through their decorative and unique traditional dress.

Chawla has had a remarkable career featuring in Vogue, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, where he has created fine, artistic fashion photographs. Wanderlust employs the techniques of Chawla’s background in fashion and applies them to documentary photography. This incredibly unique series, documents the intensity of this nomadic desert tribe, yet accentuates the opulence of their style, through the detailing on their clothes and the concentration in their expressions. Wanderlust portrays a humble tribe in an extraordinary way.

Vogue India, June 2011, Photographed by Rohit Chawla, Edited by Rachel Lopez

This series of stunningly produced large scale exhibition prints – ranging up to 94″ x 60″ – contrasts with the intimate and humble nature of the Rabari tribe. Chawla followed the tribe on their journey through the desert, photographing them with a Polaroid camera, giving them the photographs to gain their trust. Having formed a trusting relationship, Chawla created a make-shift studio in the middle of an unforgiving desert, where he was able to isolate the tribe from their natural environment – creating an aesthetic not too dissimilar from a high fashion photo shoot.

The series radiates the dignity and tradition of this ancient nomadic tribe, through the deep concentration and seriousness held in their gazes. The images are mesmerising, Chawla has been able to capture the natural intensity of his figures, transforming them into contemporary subjects and creating an outstanding set of photographs.

Wanderlust will be exhibiting at The Strand Gallery from the 9th to 15th July 2012.

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