Late Bloomer: A Conceptual Fashion Photography Project That Plays On The Female Gaze

Late Bloomer: A Conceptual Fashion Photography Project That Plays On The Female Gaze
Rodali Dutta

'Late Bloomer' is a fashion photography project shot by Tito, styled and directed by Rodali Dutta with Troyee Barua as the model. In a cinematic, Y2K flash photography style, the images are a play on the female gaze and feminine sexuality. Check out an interview we conducted with the artists Rodali and Tito about their inspirations, creative process and purpose behind their project.

What are some of your biggest influences as an artist?

Rodali: I’m influenced by people in fashion and art like Frank and Tyrone Lebone - weird and raw, sometimes with some humour involved, Mel Bles - they see fashion in such an interesting way, Harley Weir - Their way of viewing the world is so beautiful, soft, feminine and very real. Closer to home, Bharat Sikka has been a big influence on me. Working with him inspired me and my time there really started my love for creative direction.

Tito: My list keeps changing but currently it's Daisuke Yokota. I have been going through his amazing catalogue of zines and photo books for the past few months and been really inspired from it.

Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?

Rodali: Abhishek Khedekar - he’s just done a group show at Photoink in Delhi. He’s an amazing photographer and also a very dear friend. Kokun (handcrafted clothing from the mountains), Veera (tattoo artist from Chennai, his moniker is Epoc47), Min Lian (photography/fashion) just off the top of my head; there are so many more. The list would go on forever!

Tito: Revant Dasgupta, an illustrator based in Mumbai. Came to love his work through his ongoing series - Humans of Kolkata, part of which he released as a self-published zine as well. Eeshani Mitra - Her art project ‘Acidic Object’ on Instagram explores the surreal beauty of flowers and other articles. Devashish Gaur - he just wrapped up a group show at Photoink and I’ve been an admirer of his work for a long time.

What are some things you learned while putting this project together?

Rodali: Definitely this time it was all about improvising on the spot, whether it was styling the looks, or during the shoot. I’ve usually worked on shoots where everything is decided way before hand, so it was good to be able to work with on open ended brief. I learnt a lot about explaining the concept to both the model and photographer in detail during the shoot so they can execute it for you.

Rodali Dutta

Tell us about your project.

Tito: 'Late Bloomer' the story kind of came together organically. There was a sense of nostalgia and playfulness that was present in the original concept that Rodali had sent me which I wanted to fully explore through the story.

Rodali: I’ve been on a journey of becoming a creative director for a little over a year and when Troyee told me about the shoot with Tito I was excited to come up with a concept. We asked Tito if he would be open to me being the creative director and he agreed. I love seeing both the pretty and ugly sides of things. I never like my images, videos or any of my art to be just beautiful - they should feel real and genuine on some level, which usually means flaws and imperfections. I wanted the images to be reminiscent of fashion and culture in my late teens and early 20s, without being overly ‘2000s’ about it. It was super fun to create the looks as well as its a combination of mine, my sisters and my mum’s wardrobes. I also love to explore feminine sexuality through a woman’s gaze so I played with that a bit in the imagery.

What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

Rodali: When it comes to my vision - it has a lot to do with my interests, upbringing and some kind of social message (taking back the power of what a sexy woman is/can be) I’m also inspired by a bunch of artists, whether its through their work or their work ethic. I’m also always inspired by the people around me - showing me new ways of seeing the world, changing my mind and pushing me to always be better, think bigger.

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

Rodali: I love creating, I’ve always done so in different mediums ; creative direction is another way for me to do that. Anything - a piece of clothing, a conversation, my mood that day - inspires me, and I’m always grateful when I can work with artists to actually execute it. I'm not at the right skill level yet to photograph or film and I love to be able to collaborate with artists to elevate my vision and bring it to life.

Follow Rodali here and Tito here.