With the 'Wanderlust' repertoire, Rohit showcases with characteristic confidence, a portfolio of evocative portraits which is the result of tracking & living amidst the Rabari nomads from Gujarat. The images, all stark and bold play a transportive function for the viewer.
William Dalrymple, award winning art historian, critic and writer quotes, “Rohit Chawla’s Wanderlust portfolio is one of the most remarkable to come out of the travels of any photographer in India since Cartier-Bresson was here with his Leica in the late 1940s”.
Wanderlust doesn’t merely capture portraiture, but renders a narrative, tellingly offering a glance into the lives of the protagonists of his frames; and this is wherein lies Rohit's ultimate achievement: of not merely presenting the apparent frugal simplicity of the Rabari tribe, but in capturing their underlying power, raw and primal.
Rohit Chawla says about his Wanderlust creation, “Far removed from the flamboyance and exaggerated showmanship of fashion performances on catwalks across the world, I found the natural spontaneous style of the ‘Rabaris’ to be more beguiling and enticing to a somewhat jaded, fashion photographer’s eyes. I have tried to place them in isolation of their surroundings, and treated them like fashion portraits, in an attempt to give the pictures a contemporary sensibility. The effort being, to capture their natural intensity in an otherwise alien make shift studio set-up in an unforgiving desert.
A single, piercing eye behind a cloak of black, a tall lean herder in dusty white, the unspoken intensity of silent faces, resilience etched deep in lines on their foreheads. They walk proud, silver and kohl flashing, amidst camels and sheep in the desert. This pastoral nomadic community of Rabaris has withstood the onslaught of time yet retained its identity, its innate sense of style intact. Their fashion, a spontaneous self expression of natural flamboyance, and a sense of continued unity of their community. The traditional textiles, intricate embroidery and motifs, tattoos and the glistening silver they adorn have inspired countless couture collections, on myriad catwalks across the world. We pay tribute and share the relentless spirit and style of this remarkable wandering community.