Up and ready for a 6am start, the usually noisy streets of Patan were only just stirring. Our early start was planned to avoid the layer of smog that gets worse as the day progresses. Air pollution is a big problem in the overcrowded city of Kathmandu (of which Patan is a kind of suburb) since its inhabitants have quadrupled in the last 30 years. Nestled amongst some of the highest mountains in the world, its once clean Himalayan air is now sadly filled with dust and smoke, caused in the main by an eclectic mix of cars, ancient buses and vehicles in a state of disrepair, weaving in a chaotic flow of traffic.
My photographer, Sanjog, a local talent I was introduced to by my supplier, has an impressive portfolio of fashion shoots and wildlife shots including snow leopards. He is clearly a talented creative spirit, getting the most out of our gorgeous models and the beautiful environment. It’s truly a family and friends affair here, one of our models is a local actress and Sanjog’s girlfriend. Our models Shilpa and Shimran were dreams to work with and a prefect match for our ‘cosying up’ shoot with soft warm scarves and wraps made from Yak and wool and Cashmere blend. Most of the models here are also actresses which is a skill we really value when doing a shoot, as it makes the whole process of directing them so much easier – they instinctively know what works.
We achieved some gorgeous shots of our luxury scarves and wraps against the beautiful backdrop of the Medieval Palace Square of the Patan Museum, home to the sacred arts of Nepal and a Unesco world Heritage site. Intricately carved wooden doors, pillars and shrines provided a stunning contrast of tone and texture for our handwoven pieces and the authentic feel we wanted to create.
After a successful morning, Sanjog and I set up a Lifestyle shoot in The Inn Patan, a Heritage Hotel. This was once a traditional Newel house which has been transformed into a great place to stay – one that I’d highly recommend. Its lovely setting was also perfect for a product shoot where we styled our Yak and Two Tone wool and Cashmere scarves with traditional Christmas decorations and pinecones to create some cosy pictures for our Christmas campaign.