Chowpatty Beach – Part I

I was starting to feel a bit un-inspired when shooting the streets of Mumbai –  a slump generated by walking the same streets too often I suppose.  I needed a new angle or a fresh environment.  An open space with uninhibited light with lots of activity would be perfect.  One option was the Gateway of India but I had already photographed there a fair amount.

Mumbai has a long stretch of beach bang in the centre of the city that attracts hordes of people from all over the country.  In the evenings the view of the sunset is spectacular and the warm light flows over the entire beach.  This had to be it, and so began my Chowpatty beach project ala Coney Islands:)

I generally try and go on Sundays or public holidays when the crowds and activity are in full swing.  However I am also going to go on days when it is less crowded and even early mornings to show the contrast of the serenity against the weekend chaos.

I am posting a few images, shot with the Fuji x100, from what is hopefully going to be an ongoing project.  I plan to shoot here for several months by the end of which I should have an assorted collection of images.

So enjoy Part I of my project.  There will certainly be more parts to follow.

A rather decorated goalkeeper.  I wanted to get closer but he ran into the action just as I took this shot

Checking him out.  I followed the guy who stopped at a small puddle and bathed himself.

There was something in his shorts…the father filled water in the mug to flush whatever it was out.

We all wear a mask…some are just more obvious.  The girl is disguised as Hanuman and the tall statue seen in the distance is that of the demon Raavan whose effigy is burnt on this auspicious day of Dusherra.

The kid certainly couldn’t be too comfortable

Now she looks more comfortable and probably has a better view as well

Aliens descend

Could not figure out what she was trying to put on the kid.  He had just come out of the ocean and was wrapped in this strange thing.

With cameras everywhere, I was quite happy to discover that I didn’t stand out too much and shooting on the beach was relatively easy and stress free.

Sadly the beach is not too clean.  This guy finished his apple and dropped it in the sand without even attempting to spot a dustbin

Could have been the most fabulous beach if kept clean.  The ocean is swimmable but filthy

Relaxes on his phone oblivious to the chaos around him

Balloons vendors abound and therefore so do balloons

Contemplate life.  Standing and staring into the ocean is truly meditative

More aliens descend

She drained every bit of liquid from that bottle

Cotton candy is also a big seller.  Even if he sells all those packets he will make only about Rs. 300 which is a bit more than $5

Playing with his balloon under a floodlight.  The balloon actually floated away right after I took this shot

Neat trick.  The ball stayed up for a fraction of a second only.  Luckily I caught the moment making the boy seem like a pro:)


10 thoughts on “Chowpatty Beach – Part I

  1. Inspiration work Kaushal. you make me wonder how you spot those moments amidst all the chaos around! I love all of them, but my favorites would be – contemplate life (stunning visually and meaningful), She drained every bit ( i love the composition – bang on), relaxes on the phone (I spot some interesting stuff in the background too), and the last shot – you made him a soccer wizard.
    ps: any shots from yesterday?

  2. really great street shots:) I face the same dilemma when i am out on the streets, too much familiarity. But have never shot on Chowpatty that often, should make a trip there. who knows, might bump into you:)
    my favourites from the series: goalkeeper, something stuck in the pants, relaxing with his phone, contemplate life, cotton candy sellers:))
    eagerly awaiting the next in the series:)

  3. Just catching up after time in Dubai – more wonderful shots. Others have already chosen their favourites – mine are similar but I especially like DSCF0370 and Contemplate life. I wish I had time to get out more – won’t be long now.

  4. Thanks Andrew! I have been busy with organising a street photography workshop in Mumbai with Eric Kim so have not been roaming the streets much myself. I understand your need to get back out there:)

  5. Hi Kaushal,
    tomorrow I’m flying with two friends from our home Luxembourg to New Dehli to visit the hot spots in Northern India and Nepal with rented motorcycles. As I began shooting b&w on film a few months ago I was searching the web for some inspiration and luckily I found your site.
    Your pictures are truly amazing. Thank you for sharing your work.

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