Joey L Explores India
This was not Joey’s first time in India. The seasoned lensman has traveled to the area many times before and cites India as one of his favorite places to shoot. In his latest overseas project, photographer Joey L traveled to Kerala, India to capture specific scenes from those inspiring places throughout the state that are worth the trip.
“I was hired by the state of Kerala, they have an advertising agency,” explained Joey. “They had me shoot a tourism campaign to convey the five different lands that travelers frequent. Each of the pictures of the five main ads represents the different environments that tourists enjoy visiting. I’ve been to India in the past for personal projects but this is the first time I’ve gone there to do client work. India is one of my favorite places to shoot and this time I was hired by an Indian client and worked with Indian production.”
Joey and the team were on-site in India for two weeks. The first week was spent scouting, where they found locals to be the faces for the concept. “Even though its a tourism campaign, there are real travelers in the ads, they're just in the background,” said Joey. “We used real people from the actual environments.” Joey started shooting as they circled back from scouting and completed the project over that second week. “There was a full casting, we choose every single person. The group shots are really elaborate; there’s a lot going on. Every single thing was constructed. For example, for the seashore scene, the main hero subjects were the fisherman. We went there and saw the fisherman pulling in their boats and we chased people we thought would be good for the advertisement. They weren’t Indian actors or models or something, they're all street casted.”
“The locations are very spread out because they wanted to show a large, encompassing look at the state they belong to. Each environment is pretty famous for Kerala. One is the backwaters, there’s an image on the streets, one outside of a temple. Each one is a place they’d like travelers to visit. If you look in the backgrounds, you can see tourists traveling. They are ads for tourism, so it makes sense to see travelers. But most people who come to Kerala are a little adventurous, and would rather see local people than other travelers so they are there, but not super prominent.”
In addition to this experience being his first time working on commissioned work in India, the project itself was unique. In lieu of a traditional shot list that contains a series of image suggestions in words, the client had developed detailed sketches to serve as inspiration for each of the 5 images they intended to create. While there was a general understanding throughout the team that the sketches were provided as a starting point, the final product ended up being a close match. “My favorite location was the backwaters, that’s the girl in the boat. The reason why is that the first sketch and the final execution are almost a perfect match. My favorite moment was when we had all that moving pieces in front of us and it just became real. It wasn’t exactly what they had drawn but we made it come true in a different medium that wasn’t just a pencil on a paper sketch. Even the light, the time of the day, early in the morning, it all came together and made the perfect shot.”