Kite’s Eye View, India Between Earth and Sky, by Roli Books, Rs2,975, is a book of photography that invites you to enjoy top shots of a different kind. The book’s author-photographer, Nicolas Chorier, enlists the help of two roving accomplices to achieve results: the wind and kites. Photography equipment is mounted on a small cradle hanging on a string under a kite, which allows the camera to be lifted as high as 1,000ft, while the rig is operated via remote control. “Basically, aerial kite photography is great for shooting any monument, and that is one of the key points for doing that, especially in India. Kite aerial photography is perfect for approaching buildings very close, and to do many different pictures with different angles,” says Chorier. Here he lists his favourite subjects for aerial kite photography.
Taj Mahal:Only a kite can get close enough to the dome. It has been so rewarding to get such a picture of this world marvel. And nothing else could have done the job quite so well—no chopper, no air balloon, no crane, nothing—because the area and the monument are protected.
Mehrangarh Fort:I have a very intimate relationship with this fort because I have been there many times and shot the fort extensively for the architects who are working on its renovation. So I know every single part of its rooftop terraces because I fly my kites from there. The reason I love these pictures most of all is because of their dynamic visual impact, and the perspective the view angle provides—it is like a huge mass of rock and buildings rising from the blue city. A photo taken by a chopper would have flattened the subject.
Vijay Stambh:I love the two different photos that were taken of the same tower: One is a general view, and one a very close-up shot in which you can see all the details, even the parrot’s feathers. Being able to do both large-scale views and close-ups of the same subject is one of the significant advantages of shooting aerial photos with a kite.
Lotus Temple:With such a geometric subject, it is very interesting to try to find a really precise point from which to get the best graphic results. Again, it is all about perspective, about playing with visual sensations, and showing the temple just as though it was a model.
Jama Masjid:t is an exclusive shot of the masjid, taken while I was standing inside. Surrounded as it is by Chandni Chowk with its markets, intricate houses and narrow streets, it is impossible to get above such a crowded part of the Old City with a helicopter or anything else. Only a kite can get above the monument, get so close to it, get that shot, and give such a perspective of the two minarets and the bazaar behind.
2. Jama Masjid
3. Lotus Temple
4. Taj Mahal
5. Vijay Stambh