Kutch: Cultural Photography Workshop Tour

Photograph the rapidly vanishing Rabari culture and witness a colourful festival in this remote western part of India! S$2800 (course outline or sign up now)

Rabari People of Kutch

Explore the lifestyle of the Rabari people on this exciting cultural photography tour!

India generally brings to mind a riot of colours and places steeped in tradition and history. Every state has its unique dress, food and cultural quirks that can’t be covered in a lifetime. While Rajasthan, Kerala and Kashmir tend to occupy the forefront of any tourist brochure, there are less visited but just as culturally rich areas that see lesser tourists but offer just as exquisite a palette of colours and cultures.

In the western most part of mainland India lies a less visited but culturally rich area called Kutch. You’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of it as most Indians know little about it apart from it being a salt marsh and desert. But the land is home to several indigenous communities with unique cultural practices and traditions that make them extremely photogenic.

One such community known as the Rabari (also called Ra, Raibari or Rewari) are thought to have migrated here from Baluchistan and even as far as Iran around a 1000 years ago. Once fully nomadic they are now mostly semi nomadic today and unlike their counterparts in Rajasthan, many are giving up their traditional clothing and shepherding practices for life in the cities. In fact if you are lucky (very lucky!) you might find some of the last fully nomadic Rabari on this trip!

While the people will be around till eternity, their unique clothes and traditional shepherding practices are succumbing to technological invasions and modern influence from the rest of the country and the world. In fact the turbans and flowing robes of the Rabari community are already becoming scarce with t- shirts and jeans slowly being assimilated into the community.

This tour covers the Kutch and  Vaghad area where you will roam the grazing grounds of this arid land shooting the shepherding Rabari community while participating in their daily routines of bringing out their herds, cooking meals in the middle of nowhere and watching the herd returning home in a plume of dust.

This is not a staged performance where the actors dress up for your camera but what they do on a daily basis as part of their life. So the photos you get would be genuine and not orchestrated like the tourist shows that are becoming popular these days.

After a hard day’s work running around with the shepherds you’ll stop by a feature that exists only in two areas in the world, the salt flat of the White Rann. A flat piece of land covered with salt as far as the eye can see, the landscapes here are nothing short of surreal and out of this world.

The grand finale would be the celebrations of Janmashtami at a small village where you’ll be lost in the flood of colours as the entire village comes out dressed in their most colourful and elaborate dresses to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna.

Whether its sipping Chai (tea) with a nomadic shepherd, or following a procession of beautifully dressed ladies to the temple, Kutch will leave you with colourful memories and a yearning to come back for more!

We’ve always felt there is too much photography and too little experiential travel with most travel photography workshops. So this workshop is perfect for those looking for a more exploratory photography experience with interactions with nomads and villagers in the remote highlands of Ladakh.

With just 6 people per instructor you will definitely have adequate space and time to capture intimate images and photo stories of this little known part of India.

Guides and drivers are proficient in English, Gujarati, and Hindi so you can rest assured that nothing will be lost in translation while you interact and photograph the locals.

Less tourists, more interaction!

Teaching photography can be a great way to get in touch with the locals!

Or just hang around and shoot the action

Catch traditional cowherds and shepherds bring out their 5000 strong cow armies first thing in the morning!

With some patience, you might get some great close up portraits too!

Nothing better than finishing a day with a great model who’s happy to be photographed!

Shoot surreal landscapes of the white desert

Sunset over the White Desert Rann

And what is India without its festivals!

Capture the colourful clothes and festive spirit of Janmashtami on this workshop!

So whether you are a portrait photographer

Or just happy seeing a smile on a strangers face…

Language barriers vanish when the photographer elicits the most welcoming smile on the model!

A smiling Rabari Shepherd can be an excellent reward at the end of a hard days work!

Nothing brightens up the day than a smile on a face in a sea of colour!

Kutch is sure to enthral you and keep you coming back!

You’ll definitely walk through the doors of Kutch again after your first visit!

Course Schedule


August/September 2018 Workshop

From 28 August to 4 September 2018

      27 July 2018: Briefing in Singapore
      28 August 2018: Depart Singapore
      28 August 2018: ~ 10am Arrival at Bhuj
      29 August 2018: Cultural Photography at Vaghad Area
      30 August 2018: Shoot at White Rann and Salt Flats
      31 August 2018: Cultural Photography at Vaghad Area
      1 September 2018: Local sight seeing at Bhuj
      2 September 2018: Janmashtami Festival Shoot
      3 September 2018: Landscape Shoot at outskirts of Bhuj
      4 September 2018: Return to Ahmedabad/Singapore

See the Course Outline for details on the activities and timings of the workshop.


Your Instructors

Nandakumar Narasimhan

Nandakumar Narasimhan

Being driven by the interest to create distinct experiential travel photography tours, Kutch attracted Nanda to its cultures and landscapes continuously for the past two years. Neither the sweltering 45 degree heat in May or the teeth chattering single digit temperatures in December could keep him from photographing the lifestyles of the indigenous communities here. He brings his experience in leading overseas photography tours and his love for experiential travel on this workshop.

Manish Lakhani

Manish Lakhani

Manish hails from the Saurashtra region in Gujarat and can be considered one of the best photography guides to his home state. When not exploring the remote highlands of the Indian Himalayas, he is perfectly at home in the sweltering desert of Kutch, shooting stories of the people and places here. His command of the Gujarati language and knowledge of local communities make him a highly sought after photography guide for this part of India.

Course Outline

Lesson DetailsTimings and Activities
Day 0
Location: Studio @ The Hive Lavender3
One month before commencement date

  • Briefing in Singapore

  • Clothing

  • Photography Equipment Check and Recommendations
Day 1
Location: Ahmedabad

  • Arrival at Ahmedabad
Day 2
Location: Bhuj and Surroundings

  • Arrival at Bhuj

  • Sunset Shoot near Bhuj

  • First Image Critique session
Day 3
Location: Vaghad

  • Depart for Vaghad

  • Cultural Photography at Vaghad

Day 4
Location:Vaghad

  • Cultural Photography

  • Landscape Photography at White Rann

Day 5
Location:Vaghad/Bhuj/

  • Return to Bhuj

  • Street photography at Bhuj

  • Sunset shoot at Bhuj

Day 6
Location: Outskirts of Bhuj

  • Janmashtami Festival Shoot

  • Critique and Review

Day 7
Location: Bhuj

  • Shoot at Bhuj and Surroundings

  • Post Production and Presentation


Day 8
Location: Bhuj/Ahmedabad
  • Return to Singapore via Ahmedabad


  • Course Requirements

    Participants must bring their own camera (DSLR or mirrorless equivalents with manual controls), laptop with Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop installed (we recommend CS4 or later).

    A tripod is a must for this workshop. A moderate level of fitness would be required as this workshop involves trekking over short distances.


    Fees

    The workshop fees of $2800 includes:

    • Airport transfer to and from Ahmedabad Airport to Bhuj
    • All land transport cost during the course of the tour (3 participants to a vehicle)
    • Instructor Fees (2 instructors)
    • Accommodation (twin sharing) at all locations
    • All meals during the course of the tour
    • Permits for Restricted Areas

    The fees does not include:

    • Air Tickets to and from Singapore and Ahmedabad
    • Visa fees
    • Insurance (Compulsory)
    • Drinks and Water
    • Personal Expenditures for medicines etc.
    • Tips and Gratuities


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