Its sometimes so delightful to find a book so interesting in a location which you’d never expect it to be. The same happened with me in Jodhpur, as I went through the Museum Shop in Mehrangarh.
Rajasthan has been heaven for photographers. Not only for legendary street and travel photographers like Steve McCurry but also for fashion photographers like Norman Parkinson. The book I’m discussing about today is a small body of work put together, dedicated to fashion, Vogue and the grandeur of Rajasthan and India. For those of you who follow Vogue, some of these images were a part of its first issue in India.
Published by Tasveer, you can be sure that its not a book made for photographers or enthusiasts. Its merely a catalog so I didn’t have any expectations with the book as such. Soft cover and badly designed, the only saving grace are the amazing pictures, specially the ones shot in Rajasthan & Kashmir in the late 1950’s.
The book contains work brought together from India, South East Asia and a little of Africa but the majority is from India. Norman Parkinson’s taste and style comes through in every photograph with grace, spontaneity and flare. I love the stillness in his work but don’t be fooled, this stillness is a peak in itself so every picture is elegant yet amazingly energetic.
The printing is not great but what is worst is the layout. The book never really comes together with a rhythm that these images deserve. Norman is a great photographer and his work brilliant but his views on India are purely of an outsider. His images of fashion are inspired of the Raj, looking at India purely as a location and its people as props.
Would I recommend this book? Not really, I’m sure there are better books out there for you to buy than spend money on this one.