The Wanderlust of the Rabari nomads

The Wanderlust of the Rabari nomads

While modern cameras and smartphones make it easy for many travellers to become digital diarists, the ability to tell genuine stories through photography remains an elusive skill. Which is why these evocative portraits of Rabari tribespeople so easily stopped us in our tracks.

Taken by former fashion and advertising photographer Rohit Chawla, the stark and bold images go on display at The Strand Gallery in London this month (Monday 9 July to Sunday 15 July) in an exhibition that reveals the mesmerising lives of these Indian nomads.

The exhibition, called Wanderlust, is the result of Chawla tracking and living among the tribes of the Gujarat. The images capture both the frugal simplicity and strength of the subjects, and Chawla says he was mesmerised by the people he set out to capture:

“Far removed from the flamboyance and showmanship of fashion performances on catwalks, I found the natural spontaneous style of the ‘Rabaris’ to be more beguilling 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 was to capture their natural intensity in an otherwise alien make-shift studio set-up in an unforgiving desert.”

Wanderlust by Rohit Chawla will be exhibited in London at the Strand Gallery, from 9 to 15 July 2012. For further details visit

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