An Ideal Sunday, is a self-initiated art direction and photography project done in collaboration with three different local businesses, a textile printing business, a food and beverage distributor, and a self-taught baker. The aim was to explore, research, adapt and create three varied set-ups, inspired by different cultural practices, in the exact same spot.
This project helped me understand what goes into art direction, from concept development to location hunting, prop-sourcing, finding suitable collaborators, handling food items, on-set styling and working with changing natural light.
For the first setup I wanted to represent the seamless integration of Italian cuisine in India and the rise of Sunday Brunches.
Comparatively a recent entrant, Italian food has become wildly popular in India and even served at most weddings. Due to the cusine's concentration on carbohydrates instead of protein, it has been easily adapted by the large vegetarian population of India. Many Italian sauces use ingredients found in the every Indian kitchen, like tomatoes and garlic, that bring a sense of familiarity in flavours.
For the floral centerpiece, I used a combination of Rajnigandha, also known as tuberoses, which trace their origin to Mexico, but popular across India for both religious and decorative purposes, with Lilies, the National Flower of Italy.
The images edits were inspired by the still life paintings of the Baroque period.
The second setup was inspired by the Hogwarts Office of Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. I wanted to recreate an English Afternoon Tea.
Since I was creating a setup that inspired by another culture, it was important for me to be thorough with my research about the practices and etiquettes involved and discuss them with some from that culture. Through my baker, I met Tazmin Linford, an Englishwoman who guided me throughout the process, from the placement, to afternoon blends and selection of food items.
DIY Skincare is a highly debatable topic which has divided the skincare community on the Internet, but it has been an integral part of the Indian society. Most of the skin and hair care recipes have been tested and passed down the generations of a family. Most homes have Sunday rituals like hair oiling and using a home-made ubtan (body scrub).
Since these activities are time intensive, requires you to pause and take time out to look after yourself.