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This French kiterunner trains his lens on India

How did you get hooked on to kite photography? Did you like to fly kites as a passion?
I have always been a photo enthusiast since my teenage years. I got my first camera when I was a kid, and I’ve grown up with the weekly family slideshow by the fireplace, with hundreds of Kodachrome taken by my father during his 20 years spent in Africa. These slideshows are definitely the base for my love for photography and travels.


Nicolas Chorier at work with his kite photography apparatus

I was flying kites for years, and was already aware that kite aerial photo existed since 1888, when it was first experimented with, in Southern France. I first decided to try this technique during a trip in Asia in 1996, since I found the idea of exploring its potential very interesting. I’ve always liked to fly, have liked everything that can fly, and I’ve always been interested in eco-friendly means.

Using a kite powered only by the wind, was a challenge to practice aerial photography. As it requires a lot of handcraft skills (electronic, physics, sewing...), I loved the idea of getting into that. Kite aerial photography reveals new designs on the ground (vegetal, mineral or human built), new perspective on volumes, and fantastic colour palettes combinations.


Goa: An Indian kite from Mangalore at an international kite festival in Goa

What were some of the biggest, most unexpected challenges you faced while shooting in India?
I frequently faced obstructions from local administrations, due to some kind of paranoia, some fear of aerial photography. Since people don’t know kite aerial photography, it appears even more strange and suspicious, to the narrow-minded. Kite photography can't be a threat to anything, only a fantastic promotional tool, and it provides tremendous graphics.


Kumbh Mela: An aerial view of the Kumbh Mela that depicts crowds of the pilgrims.

Which state/area/region posed the most interesting vignettes and vistas for you?
Almost impossible to answer. Each place/state/area has something to offer in terms of atmosphere, design, colour, light, specific architecture, natural wonders… I can do a fantastic photo on an urban parking lot, or a camel walking on a beach, or slums’ rooftops, or the dome of Taj Mahal. It’s a question of perspective, light, frame composition.


Jaipur: The Kesar Kyari Bagh, in the waters of the Maota Lake in Amber Fort, has star-shaped flower beds where saffron was once planted

Any reason why areas like the North East, Bengal, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh aren’t in the book? Any plans for a second book, to cover
the rest of the country?

I would have loved to fly my rig in the North East, and everywhere I haven’t been! Maybe a new sponsor will drag me there?


Kerala: Fishermen with fish taken from the sea in Kozhikode (Calicut). The communities of fishermen here follow all religions — Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.


Khajuraho: Vishwanath Temple is known for sculptures of sensuous apsaras — plucking a thorn from her foot, another one playing her flute, while others relax in provocative poses


Kite’s Eye View: India, Nicolas Chorier, Roli Books, Rs 1,495. Available at leading bookstores

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