Passage to India, part I

Only six days til I leave the security and predictability of London and head to the madness of Mumbai. Of course, now the reality check has kicked in and the sleepless nights have started. I have been emailing my boss-to-be in India to ask for the names of photographers’ agents, model agencies and production companies so I can do some research ahead of my arrival. It turns out that ‘they do things slightly differently here to the way you will be used to doing things’. Gulp. What does that mean? It transpires that photographers in Mumbai have a lot more control than they have here. Not only do they pick their teams but they also want to have a say in the layout of the pages. Uh oh, now they tell me. And they name their rates and we then negotiate. Oh joy. I am someone who has very clear ideas and likes to work with photographers who have the same vision as me but who are ultimately under my control. I want to choose the story, location, models, clothes. Yes, I’m a control freak! And much as I would like to use Indian photographers, having seen some of the work of the photographers she has recommended, I’m not sure they will ‘get’ what I want to do.

All is not lost however. I’m going to keep an open mind until I arrive and as a backup I have spoken to the UK-based agent of a US-based photographer who does get what I want to do and it might be possible for him to shoot for us. The magazine doesn’t have a budget to fly photographers out there but apparently he is willing to pay his own way. And then we will have the hurdle of model agencies and production companies to overcome. Let the learning curve commence…

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8 Responses to Passage to India, part I

  1. WendyB says:

    Good grief! That’s a little bit like if my manufacturers demanded a say in the design of my jewelry. Um, no!

  2. susie_bubble says:

    Yes…. get them under your domain and do what you want! I can’t wait to see the results…

  3. Blue Floppy Hat says:

    I second Susie…Indian fashion photography needs a major shaking-up, and surely choosing the team- models, stylists, theme et al- is an editor’s job? What you’ve said just explained a lot to me about the way things are done here, and why I’ve hardly ever picked up the desi version of a fashion magazine (except for Vogue, and that’s new).

  4. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the comment – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  5. discothequechic says:

    I was just thinking about you and your indian adventure, so glad that there has been an update.

    I agree with BFH, how is it that the photographers have this much control? Understandably things just are different, but really, it all sounds rather alien.

    Still, at least you have a plan B! Are you going to continue blogging whilst you’re away? I’m sure that it will be less frequent, but I hope that you’ll still be around.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Suzanna Mars says:

    Just wanted to wish you Happy New Year, DRG!

    Even if the Mumbai way is vastly different and difficult to work around, I’m thinking it might make for a marvelous series of columns, or a book. It’s going to be valuable to you however it pans out.

  7. Libertygirl says:

    Just blog-hopping, and saw that http://www.fashionisspinach.com/
    has a sidebar linking to lots of upcoming designers in Delhi/Mumbai etc. Cld be useful. Bloody photographers! Bane of my life! LLG xx

  8. indi says:

    oh golly i never knew photographers had so much control over what we see! but really then what do the stylists and editors do? blue floppy hat- i agree with you the difference between indian and international photographers has always been visible but now i get why.

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