I’m excited to finally be able to share this new advertising work for Kerala Tourism. The entire new photography series, as well as a behind the scenes video showing how we did it is now up on my blog.
At age 17, I saved every dollar I had, drawn to India as a beginner photographer. I’ve been back here many times since— always driven by a personal project and inspired by the people of India. Today those same people have now brought me back. This is my first commissioned work in India— a tourism campaign for Kerala. It’s an emotional milestone to everything I’ve done here before. The recognition that a local Indian advertising agency and their client- the state of Kerala itself, acknowledge my work enough to trust me with this monumental project is truly a blessing. We’re here to do more than bring Kerala’s rich reputation as a traveler’s haven back to the forefront. We’re here to help restore the residual economy back to its glory before the devastating floods of 2018. Nearly 500 people lost their lives in the flooding, and furthermore the damage inhibited much of Kerala’s economic relation to tourism and travel. I am humbled by the people’s resolve, the resiliency of nature to rebuild, and the abundance of stories that fill every corner of Kerala.
We photographed 5 main advertising images, each representing a unique environment in Kerala: the forest, temple, streets, sea shore, and backwaters. At the heart of this photo series is the convergence of different cultures co-existing within a single place. Tourism is built around the basic lifestyle that Kerala lives in, instead of being created as its own entity. Therein lies the draw. The travelers are included in each composition, yet are not prominent. They are a part of the landscape, but they take a back seat and a blurry composition in conjunction to the local people who exist in this natural aesthetic as effortlessly as you or I live in our own homes. It’s an ode to what travelers are looking for in Kerala— real life. They want to observe and assimilate naturally to the rich culture and color instead of overtake it. In a place like Kerala, one does not need to construct entertainment and beauty. It’s already there, original and wild all the same.