I’ve said my goodbyes to family and friends, and the dog, and have arrived in Mumbai. Now that I’m here, I thought I’d share some of the preparations that have taken place until now ahead of the long trip to Bhopal in a few days.

Entering a little into the unknown with this scale of project, and with the number of people it will involve, I have had some very valuable meetings with with Angad and Paul, mentoring and technical staff at Photofusion, who have helped clarify some of the technical problems I may be faced with whilst shooting, and discussed some of the desired outcomes of the project and my approach to undertaking it. With all this in mind, I’ve finalised a (debatably) light travel kit and carried out numerous tests in a space measured out to the dimensions of of the community clinic in Bhopal where I’ll be shooting. By space, I mostly mean the corridor outside my studio.

Furthermore, I’ve dedicated many hours to online searches and to time spent in the Prints and Drawings Study Rooms at the V&A Museum, delicately sifting images print by print and observing old portrait records of the Indian Maharajas and social elites.

Research images from the V&A archive collections

Tomorrow I’m very excited to be meeting with Anusha Yadav, founder of the award winning Indian Memory Project, a visual & oral history of the Indian Subcontinent via family archives, for the amazing work that she’s done and for her knowledge of Indian formal family portraits. I hope to gain further understanding of Indian customary traditions and formalities with regards to the dynamics of social context and family structure for the acquisition of the portraits. And more importantly, for the accurate representation of each family.


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