Celebrated fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar's shoot for the Kingfisher Calendar, an unbroken tradition since 2003, has become the most coveted ticket to India's fashion and film industries. Numerous household names today—Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Yana Gupta, Ujjwala Raut, Nargis Fakhri and Lisa Haydon, among others—were first noticed through Kasbekar's spectacular shots.
He discussed in an interview what makes the calendar tick.
The photographer is ready with his new calendar for 2015—with a stunning new set of models, shot in exotic locations across Turkey. In an exclusive preview for Huffpost India readers, Kasbekar introduces his shoot, and the models.
The risqué swimsuit aside (which I love), the Hot Springs at Pamukkale is an eye grabbing location. It’s surreal, like a Martian landscape, where you’re walking on these serrated ground patterns that have formed over centuries, and little pools of mineral-enriched water.
Also, we’ve used bangles across the shoot, because this accessory is not something you’d expect to pair with swimwear. And don’t miss Sarah’s sunglasses: Ray-Bans lined with velvet.
Model: Sarah Jane Dias; Location: Hot Springs, Pamukkale, Turkey. Swimsuit: Karla Colletto; Eyewear: Ray-Ban.
So this was shot at The Argos in Cappadocia, a fascinating place steeped in history because of its historic Christian-Muslim conflicts. The landscape is actually miles of underground homes where Christians took refuge from the conflict. In some areas the tunnels (that can stretch to 5 miles in length) go to 5-6 levels down below, and people apparently stayed underground for six months at a stretch without coming up! On the left, are the homes of the monks who were bullied, but not killed, and could afford to stay above ground level.
Model: Elena Fernandes; Location: Tiraz Mansion, Argos in Cappadocia, Turkey. Swimsuit: Charmante at The Beach Company; Footwear: Dior.
Dayana’s got legs that just go on forever: they should be be insured! She’s also one of those absurdly blessed women who just needs to stand there; and the shot is beautiful. This was taken at daybreak, to avoid pesky tourists. While standing there, Dayana (who is petrified of water, by the way) dropped an Amrapali earring in the water, and went hysterical! And we had production guys diving in to rescue it for her. Bodrum, by the way, is a complete party town and has a hip, young vibe to it.
Model: Dayana Erappa; Location: Kuum Hotel & Spa, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Charmante at The Beach Company; Bracelet: Amrapali; Footwear: Dior.
It was freezing atop this mountain at Argos! The temperature was 4 or 5 degrees celsius, and we were all fully dressed, while poor Elena was shivering in her bikini. So the stylist would drape her in a fur coat between shots. By the way, she is standing next to a monk's home—it is hard to believe that someone used to live in this hole!
Model: Elena Fernandes; Location: Tiraz Mansion, Argos in Cappadocia, Turkey.Swimsuit: Salinas at praias.com.
This was photographed right at the edge of Pumukkale’s hot springs. It’s incredible—this scalloped bizarre structure is only located at one particular spot, not looped all over the place. The minute you step out of it, you can’t see it; it’s almost an aberration.
Model: Sarah Jane Dias; Location: Hot Springs, Pamukkale, Turkey. Swimsuit: Charmante at The Beach Company.
This was a simple enough shot by the poolside at the Kuum hotel in Bodrum, but it worked well. Those deck chairs with the cane work details complemented Dayana’s body.
Model: Dayana Erappa; Location: Kuum Hotel & Spa, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Salinas at praias.com; Earrings: Suhani Pittie.
We just couldn’t get enough of the Kempinski’s sun-drenched infinity pool, especially when the sky was reflecting in that clear, blue water. Keisha’s green and blue matched the water perfectly.
Model: Keisha Lall; Location: Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Prelude at The Beach Company; Neckpiece: Suhani Pittie.
I remember when I went for the recce; I fell in love with this beautiful, golden sun-lit setting highlighting the ruins. This was a tricky shot; Hierapolis was one of those places we had to be really careful because Sarah Jane was in this diaphanous garment (although her bracelet was a lethal weapon—she actually clobbered a couple of people with it). But we wanted to focus on resort wear, not just swimsuits, and it’s very easy for a shot like this to look cheap. I’ve always been very careful to ensure the shot comes out looking tasteful, and her pose helps—like Beyoncé in some older pictures.
Model: Sarah Jane Dias; Location: Hierapolis Ancient City, Pamukkale, Turkey. Swimsuit: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary; Bracelet: Mrinalini Chandra.
This was at the Kempinski spa. There’s this gigantic relaxation area with a warm pool, which is unique because most spas have small ones. The place is made entirely of glass, and has this green house effect going on. So you come out of your Turkish bath or hammam and just wallow for a bit… it’s great!
Model: Dayana Erappa; Location: Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Lenny Niemeyer at praias.com; Earrings: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary.
We shot this at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Bodrum. The hotel is atop a hill, and you can make your way down to the beach through the olive groves that have little cabanas dotted along the landscape. And Turkish olives are yum!
Model: Sarah Jane Dias; Location: Olive garden, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Karla Colletto; Necklace: Amrapali; Footwear: Dior.
Keisha, an Indian of West-Indies origin, has this beautiful, very proportionate body. What’s more, she has a stunning face, and a soft, sexy British accent to go with it. This was a twilight shot at the Kempinski Hotel in Bodrum by the infinity pool. It’s huge! It also has these picturesque minarets coming out of the water. That worked beautifully as a background prop.
Model: Keisha Lall; Location: Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Lenny Niemeyer at praias.com; Earrings: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary.
This is the Mandarin Oriental’s second, more private, beach. The ground is really rocky, so there’s this pier that just walks you straight into those iridescent waters. All Elena had to do was walk towards us…
Model: Elena Fernandes; Location: Blue Beach Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Karla Colletto; Earrings: Amrapali.
So I’ve never seen anything like this structure—it’s the ultimate beach umbrella. Ordinary umbrellas have to be shifted to suit the angle of the sun, but this roosts over a big lounge area, and covers you at all angles against the glare. There are big beds everywhere, and the vertical structure in the right corner is a gorgeous lamp that lights up the night.
Model: Keisha Lall; Location: Kuum Hotel & Spa, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Shivan & Narresh; Bracelet: Mrinalini Chandra; Footwear: Dior.
The yacht floating in the background is Vijay Mallya’s Indian Empress. We shot this at Kuum Hotel & Spa in Bodrum, a stunning property. There are deck chairs right at the edge of that ocean, and you can relax there for hours with a drink. There’s also a bunch of super yachts and water toys parked around. The Croatian and Turkish coastline is quickly becoming the new Riviera.
Model: Keisha Lall; Location: Kuum Hotel & Spa, Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Charmante at The Beach Company; Eyewear: Ray-Ban; Footwear: Dior.
Even though they were shot in the same place —Kempinski’s spa—the two photos are so different, because of the angles I used. The other picture has a more enigmatic feel because I shot it from the left, so it’s darker. In this picture, you can actually feel the light, see the glass walls, and the pillars that multiply around the pool.
Model: Dayana Erappa; Location: Sanitas Spa, Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay,
Bodrum, Turkey. Swimsuit: Lenny Niemeyer at praias.com; Earrings: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary.
The water at Pamukkale’s hot springs is cloudy because it is suffused with rich minerals: The water runs through the hotel, and I’d go and wallow in it twice a day because I have a rotten back (from all the bending). I swear the pain actually vanished! The beautiful pale blue water against that pristine white rocky surface is unreal.
Model: Dayana Erappa; Location: Hot Springs, Pamukkale, Turkey. Swimsuit: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary; Haath phool: Ritika Sachdev.