The Inaugural Kashgar Photo Shoot!

Added over 8 years ago

If you were going to do 10 amazing things before you die, I would say directing your own photo shoot would have to be at the top of the list.

We'd been thinking of organising a product photo shoot for Kashgar for the past year, to be used in the future as part of some sort of nebulous advertising campaign - particularly important since the most frequent comment we get from new customers is "I didn't know you were here!

But when you sell over 2000 different items, many of them one-offs and ranging in size from pea size to elephantine gigantic, advertising your product can be a difficult thing. So we knew that it was the concept of the store we had to get across rather than the specific items we sell (many of which would be sold long before the advertising campaign hit the press).  However, lacking experience, models, a photographer, a studio, or indeed a budget of any description, it looked as though the shoot would remain well and truly in the realm of fantasy.

All of that changed within just a couple of weeks.  Working in conjunction with a photographer named Bob Armstrong and his new magazine called Body of Work, we were able to plan and execute a shoot that (we think) was nothing short of amazing.

The theme of the shoot was Kashgar: Always Different!  We had three models (one a professional, Ashleigh, one a semi professional named Swarna and the last Maud, a girl who had never modelled before and was suggested to us by a friend) to work with on the day. Our first shot was of Swarna inside a huge black bamboo birdcage - we simply removed the base and placed it over the top of her.  She was completely nude except for some heavy silver tribal jewellery and emerald green feathers that I very luckily had left over from an old Mardi Gras costume - thank heavens for dress up boxes and hoarders (I always knew those feathers would come in handy).

Our second shot involved a 19th Century life-size brass and wooden horse on wheels that we sourced earlier this year in India.  Each model was given a completely different look (Goddess, Lady Godiva, 1940's Socialite) and either placed on or near the horse, with a beautiful golden handmade Afghani carpet and flaming candelabra as backdrop. 

We then shot a fabulous cowboy and Indian scene - probably my favourite of them all - with Swarna as the Indian in buckskin loincloth, feathers and war paint and Maud as the cowboy in huge fringed chaps with toy guns and a western shirt, in full 1940's glam make up and wearing a big fake black moustache.

The shoot would not have been possible without our wonderful hair and make-up artist Justina. She nailed every look we wanted and was a complete professional from start to finish, even when I had trouble communicating my ideas to her and managed to leave half of my drawings at home.

A week later and we are still putting the props away.  There are green feathers everywhere. We are elated but completely drained, mentally and physically - who would have thought a photo shoot could be such hard work?  The whole experience has given us a newfound respect for stylists, art directors and producers - in fact we now take our hats off to anyone involved in the media and entertainment industry. And we are already planning our next photo shoot event...look out for the annual Kashgar calendar, to be launched in 2009.  Anyone want to be Kashgar's next top model? 

PS Stay tuned for the photos...appearing early next week!


Next: The Kashgar Travel Glossary of Really Important Words and Phrases

Previous: Update: recent progress made by the Australian East Timorese Association in Sydney