Remember that page-three pin up girl you saw in one
of those finicky fashion magazines? Remember the sunny, golden beach
with the deep blue sea a fitting backdrop to her haute couture
bikini? And you said it was Spain. Well, it wasnt. It was
Goa! The place a lot of upbeat, international lensmen are turning to
for their next fashion shoot.
I was recently involved
with a fashion shoot for a big South African magazine that is a part
of the Cosmopolitan stable. The crew who came here from South Africa
were totally unfamiliar with India, its peoples, customs and values.
It was a wide-eyed experience form the first moment for all of them.
The shooting she had
planned was to include some of the best known of North Indias
remarkable heritage with snappy shots on the beaches of Goa as a
The final shots were to
be taken down the coast in Goa. Upon arrival we were whisked away to
Fort Aguada where a swift reconnaissance of the local beaches was
done before setting up for a shot on nearby Bagga Beach. This is one
of Indias finest and known to the locals as Nature
spoiled daughter. We also drove a little further up the coast
to Vagator Beach with its imposing fort lining the stumpy black hills
that bank up at the back of the beach. It was decided to photograph
the beach at Bagga with the late afternoon sun and Vagator with the
rays of daybreak coming from behind the fortress walls.
The line of fishing boats
at the waters edge where the sea quietly lapped on the ebb tide
was the set, with Goas waving palms as a stringy backdrop.
Imraan set up his cassette player and the moody soundtrack from Even
Cowgirls get the Blues drifted across the beach. Saira in
beachwear was an obvious attraction. The whole beach seemed to close
in for a Deco! The body beautiful began to writhe in
time to the music helped by liberal doses of duty free champagne.
Mesmerized onlookers began to mill around the boats trying to work
out who was dong what and why. Lambros, the photographer, asked for
more movement. After working out his framing, he set his Canon EOS
into prestissimo and rattled off another four rolls as another one
hit the dust. Before the sun went down it was decided to shoot
another gar-ment. We all rushed to the waters edge where the
lady kicked off her shoes and waded into the surf calf deep.
Lambros, with the sun behind his head, waded further rout so that
Sairo could be seen splashing in front of the wide vista of fishing
boats and palm trees. The gold of the low sun set off the flickering
threads in the cloth of the garment as the breakers glinted bright
orange in the sunset.
The evening saw us
up to our elbows in seafood and feni
one of the dozens of seaside restaurants that have proliferated here
in the past 10 years. The fish is fresh from the sea and the
kitchen, whereas the feni
mixed with soda is known to kill all germs and a few more besides.
It is a acquired taste as is the arrack
found further south. Both have the sledgehammer effect to the back
of the knees in the evening and the back of the head the following
A pre-dawn alarm call
awaited us in the morning. We were all ready and moving by 5.30 a.m.
Daybreak found us setting up on the rocks surrounding the Vagator
Beach with the Chapora Fort in the hazy distance. Out to sea the
clouds were dark and menacing. Fishermen came and went as early
morning beachcombers walking their dogs passed by inquisitively as
our make-up man dug out yet another disguise from his magic bag. A
pack of beach dogs patrolling their territory bowled over a dog they
didnt recognize and would have given him a penance he ws not
expecting had not the owner intervened with a flailing stick and a
handful of hurled rocks.
Once again the trusty
Canon was loaded and fired off like a Gatling gun with its flailing
As we prepared to leave,
early morning bathers started to invade the quiet of the beach,
wondering what on earth we had been up to with a lady in evening
clothes. Goa, though, has seen it all before, another blink and a
new set of visitors fills the eyeglass. Back in South Africa the
crew have enough memories from their short trip to make a string of
travel stories come to life.