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

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

For the primary time in a decade of pictures, Naveenraj Gowthaman requested his topics to point out their backs to the digital camera. “They discovered this uncommon,” says the Chennai-based marriage ceremony photographer, “But obliged after I assured them I’ll take an excellent image.” This was in 2020, when he was overlaying the favored Koovagam Festival at Kallakurichi. The women he was capturing, most of them in their early twenties, had adorned their hair with flowers.

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

The first photograph within the sequence, shot at Koovagam competition in 2020
| Photo Credit: Naveenraj Gowthaman

Naveenraj was rewarded with a vibrant photograph that additionally instructed a narrative. This fashioned the primary image in what he would name the Poochoodal sequence. In the 2 years that adopted, Naveenraj began taking particular notice of women’s hair done 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 is all decked up, and the women don’t forget to put on their brightest apparel, that they complement with a strand or two of flowers in their hair.” This could also be any selection, such because the pale-orange kanakambaram (firecracker flower) and even the Philippine violet, popularly often known as December flower.

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

Some women really feel full provided that they step out of residence with flowers in their hair
| Photo Credit: Naveenraj Gowthaman

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

Naveenraj came across women wearing some rather unusual flowers

Naveenraj got here throughout women carrying some relatively uncommon flowers
| Photo Credit: Naveenraj Gowthaman

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

Slightly lady with two strings of kanakambaram and one string of jasmine hung between her two braids; one other with two brilliant purple hibiscus flowers atop her folded braid; a lady sporting a single sunflower on her ponytail… why, Naveenraj has photographed an previous lady within the Javadhu Hills with 4 totally 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
| Photo Credit: Naveenraj Gowthaman

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

Photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman

Photographer Naveenraj Gowthaman
| Photo Credit: Special association

Ironically, Naveenraj spends loads of time at marriage ceremony shoots photographing the bride’s impeccable hairdos adorned 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. “But to shoot a easy braid with a random mixture of flowers {that a} village lady strung impulsively… this makes me smile.”

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