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In his new sequence Poochoodal, metropolis photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman paperwork girls from rural Tamil Nadu sporting with heartwarming hairdos

In his new sequence Poochoodal, photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman paperwork girls from rural Tamil Nadu sporting heartwarming hairdos

For the primary time in a decade of images, Naveenraj Gowthaman requested his topics to indicate their backs to the digicam. “They discovered this uncommon,” says the Chennai-based wedding ceremony photographer, “However obliged after I assured them I’ll take a great image.” This was in 2020, when he was masking the favored Koovagam Pageant at Kallakurichi. The ladies he was taking pictures, most of them of their early twenties, had embellished their hair with flowers.

The first photo in the series, shot at Koovagam festival in 2020

The primary photograph within the sequence, shot at Koovagam competition in 2020
| Photograph Credit score: Naveenraj Gowthaman

Naveenraj was rewarded with a vibrant photograph that additionally instructed a narrative. This shaped the primary image in what he would name the Poochoodal sequence. Within the two years that adopted, Naveenraj began taking particular observe of ladies’s hair achieved up with flowers, particularly in rural Tamil Nadu. “I shot them wherever I went on assignments,” he says.

“Festivals are massive occasions in Tamil Nadu villages,” factors out Naveenraj. “Everyone seems to be all decked up, and the ladies don’t forget to put on their brightest apparel, that they complement with a strand or two of flowers of their hair.” This can be any selection, such because the pale-orange kanakambaram (firecracker flower) and even the Philippine violet, popularly generally known as December flower.

Some women feel complete only if they step out of home with flowers in their hair

Some girls really feel full provided that they step out of dwelling with flowers of their hair
| Photograph Credit score: Naveenraj Gowthaman

As Naveenraj documented this apply, he began studying literature on the topic to know it. “I had a number of questions, the necessary one being ‘Why do girls put on flowers’?” After two years of taking pictures over 100 photographs, Naveenraj realised he didn’t want a solution. “They take pleasure in this. Some girls really feel full provided that they step out of dwelling with flowers of their hair. I ended studying in regards to the apply then, and determined to not deal with the ‘why’, however to shoot one thing that was simply stunning to take a look at, and which made girls joyful,” he says.

Naveenraj came across women wearing some rather unusual flowers

Naveenraj got here throughout girls sporting some fairly uncommon flowers
| Photograph Credit score: Naveenraj Gowthaman

Naveenraj got here throughout girls sporting some fairly uncommon flowers, versus the everyday jasmine. “I noticed how rural girls did this with spontaneity. They’d stroll previous a plant and their hand would mechanically search a flower and repair it delicately on their braid or kondai,” he says.

Just a little woman with two strings of kanakambaram and one string of jasmine hung between her two braids; one other with two shiny pink hibiscus flowers atop her folded braid; a lady sporting a single sunflower on her ponytail… why, Naveenraj has photographed an outdated lady within the Javadhu Hills with 4 completely different forms of flowers round her kondai (bun). “Most of those photographs are from inside villages round Chennai, Viluppuram, Tiruvannamalai, Madurai, and Thanjavur,” he factors out.

Most of these photos are from interior villages around Chennai, Viluppuram, Thiruvannamalai, Madurai, and Tanjore

Most of those photographs are from inside villages round Chennai, Viluppuram, Thiruvannamalai, Madurai, and Tanjore
| Photograph Credit score: Naveenraj Gowthaman

Naveenraj additionally hopes to doc practices comparable to the frilly weaving of flowers on a braid. “That is achieved for adolescents or younger girls on particular events,“ he factors out. There are particular people who find themselves consultants at this, whose companies are sought-after earlier than the massive day. “This apply, nonetheless, is dying,“ he provides.

Photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman

Photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman
| Photograph Credit score: Particular association

Satirically, Naveenraj spends a variety of time at wedding ceremony shoots photographing the bride’s impeccable hairdos embellished with tightly-strung jasmine and even unique flowers like orchids or gardenias. “Their hairdresser most likely spends hours to present it that neat end,” says Naveenraj. “However to shoot a easy braid with a random mixture of flowers {that a} village woman strung impulsively… this makes me smile.”

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