A Trinity of Sorts



Lijo Pathilchira chronicles the third day of the competition in Jaipur, as he follows the three photographers who are here to capture the elegance of the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

The third day of the competition, three contestants, and the Mercedes-Benz CLA featuring the three-pointed star logo; this makes it a trinity of sorts. Just like the previous days, the third day promised and delivered a whole lot of excitement. And not just on the competition front. This leg of the competition included three photographers who are well-known to their peers. And they happen to be good friends too, so it was a reunion of sorts for them. Amit Ashar and Amit Mehra go back a while and so do Amit Ashar and Gaurav Sawn. Three comrades have been brought together after a long time with the purpose of framing the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Unfortunately Gaurav fell ill and spent the evening in his room to be able to go for an early morning shoot. This might have seemed like a momentary loss for him, but he was able to come back in a spectacular fashion. Even though he wasn’t a hundred percent, he managed to capture some breathtaking images. His illness didn’t give the others an unfair advantage, as they themselves decided to take things slow and start early the next morning. They spent the evening listening to classical and jazz music while enjoying a couple of beers under the night sky. If there ever was a perfect way to start a competition, then this was it.

After their morning shoot both the Amits decided to take a break and head out. I was fortunate enough to tag along and observe them for a while. When I enquired about his shoot, Amit Ashar told me that he was able to capture a beautiful image of the Mercedes-Benz CLA with a cow in the foreground. Granted it doesn’t sound like the choicest of pictures, but Amit had good reason to take it. He explained to me that the CLA was a gorgeous car and that no matter what you paired it with it wouldn’t lose an ounce of its beauty or style. All he was looking for was an interesting shot, which he was able to get. He didn’t really have any locations picked out for the shoot and just went where the road took them.

During the break Amit Ashar went shopping for shoes, which turned out to be longer than expected. After a unanimous decision we decided to leave him behind and headed to get kulfis. In hindsight it wasn’t our finest hour, but it’s not like we are a bunch of marines. When we returned a while later we found him taking pictures of the shops near the area, so I guess he didn’t seem to mind the desertion. I had previously seen him take a picture of a heart-shaped leaf on the ground while leaving the hotel. So as long as he has a subject to shoot he’s fine. I also had the rare opportunity to watch Amit Ashar break out a few moves to ‘Smack that’ at a Puma store, which made my trip to Jaipur worth it.


At lunch the discussion was lively, as we were talking about a blind photographer whose work Amit Ashar admires. The other thing that was being admired was Gaurav’s Sony DSC-RX100M II. Its viewfinder was particularly interesting to the group of photographers assembled at the table. Later I headed out with Gaurav as he continued his shoot. After finishing his shoot at Castle Kanota, Gaurav jumped into the tracking vehicle and I followed him in the CLA as we headed for Amer fort. The evening light show there was something that he was particularly interested in shooting. As the fort was lit up ceremoniously at around 8:30 in the evening, Gaurav quickly got to work and got the shots he needed. The multicoloured lighting of the fort looked particularly beautiful in the background of the CLA as he took his long exposure shots.

After that we headed up to Nahargarh fort to get some equally good shots. The climb up the winding roads was challenging, but the prize that waited at the end of it was worth it. The gorgeous view of the city lit up under the night sky was exactly what Gaurav wanted. He quickly set up his tripod and light and took the shots he needed. The lightning speed with which he worked was something to behold.

Spending time with these photographers was a privilege that I wish I get to relive again soon. Now what I look forward to is the final day of the competition and an equally skilled group of photographers that will serve as an exclamation point to this Jaipur trip.


When Lijo isn’t creating content for some of India’s leading brands (he has sold his soul to the advertising industry), he spends his time dreaming of traveling around the world and making movies.

Tags: Rajasthan, Jaipur, june 2015, frame the star, Mercedes-Benz CLA