KOCHI: As the Covid-19 outbreak forced the country to a screeching halt, fashion photography enthusiast, Nanda Gopan was left with no means to conduct photoshoots as before. But, that didn’t stop this Thiruvananthapuram-based photographer from taking pictures. Nanda realised that he needed to improvise. Before the lockdown, Nanda had planned an ethnic photo series project titled ‘Dilkash’ featuring eight models in Indian wear which didn’t take off despite all arrangements. The garments for the ethnic shoot were designed by fashion designers, Varsha Sreepal and Aparna Raju.
“The sudden lockdown spoiled all our plans. This is when I came across a group of foreign photographers online who were doing creative photoshoots through FaceTime and other video call applications. Since everyone is locked up at home and we have all the time in the world, I discussed the idea with some of my friends and planned the shoot,” says Nanda, who has been practising fashion photography since a year.
Using the Google Duo application on Google, Nanda began photographing models in ethnic outfits without leaving his residence in Karikkakom. Though there are many techniques being explored by photographers around the world during lockdown, Nanda uses screenshot photography where the photographer creates images by applying various techniques while composing a screenshot.
Initially, Nanda photographed three frames as a trail featuring his sister, Gayathri Gopan along with two other models. “After the trial shoot, I thought of doing the series based on ethnic theme through video call. I discussed the same with a Bengaluru-based makeup artist, Asha Santhosh and gave necessary instructions to the models,” adds Nanda.
The process involved taking portraits using video call. However, the process was not as easy as it seemed. Nanda had to spend considerable time coordinating with the models. “Before photographing, I need to see their house and they walk me around it through the video call. I tell them to show me the position of windows and doors from which light streams in to decide the composition of the frame,” explains Nanda.
Nanda instructs the subjects where to stand and how to set up their remote cameras. “I tell my models to wear something ethnic, either drape a saree or wear a crop top with a dupatta,” says the final year botany student of Mar Ivanios College. Some of the portraits from the series can be found on Nanda’s Instagram page @nandagopanphotos.