Outside the Palace Walls

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Outside the Palace Walls
In our September/October 2016 cover story, we took you into the world of Rajasthan’s palace hotels. Here, photographer João Canziani takes us behind the scenes of that shoot, outside the palace walls, and into daily life in Rajasthan. 
Photo by João Canziani
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    Outside the Palace Walls
    According to Canziani, the experience was all about capturing the moment: "This image is an example of seizing the moment when you first see something exciting. As we entered the City Palace in Jaipur, I stopped to shoot a few frames of these guys, despite the fact that my assistant and tour guide said I could just photograph the workers later. I was a little annoyed with them for insisting, and so I refused to leave. When we finished the tour, of course, these guys were not there anymore."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    Elegance From Times Gone by
    "There’s something so special about Indian culture, particularly the way men dress. There’s an elegance that looks more like times past—from the cut of their pants to the colors of their shirts. This man impressed me most of all. He had such an ease in posing and such penetrating eyes. Plus, look at how he wears his scarf! And this was just a regular day at some public baths near Jaipur."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    Dance Break
    "As we drove from Jaipur to Nagaur Fort, we heard some thumping sounds and noticed a group of locals dancing. A truck with big loudspeakers on the back rolled very slowly on the road, as men and women followed behind, dancing excitedly. Of course, we had to stop and shoot. As I got closer and closer, one of the guys in this photo grabbed my hand and pulled me right into the middle, motioning me to dance as well. The dancing was fun, but it was so much better to shoot instead."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    Unscheduled Wonders
    "I love road trips and I think this one around Rajasthan was one of the best ones I’ve taken. It wasn’t just because every destination on our itinerary was so special, but because every day held a new surprise, like the day we stumbled upon this otherworldly quarry. Maybe in other countries, like the U.S., a place like this would be gated and secured, but here we could walk right in. There were no workers in sight (except for the small figure walking across the top of my frame). It felt abandoned and frozen in time, but we later found out it is very much operational—maybe the workers were taking a long break. A photographer’s paradise, indeed!"
    Photo by João Canziani
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    A Portrait-Worthy Stare
    "I loved everything, everything about this man from the Raj Mahal Palace: his somewhat stiff pose, the way he held his hands, his wide gaze, his eyes, not to mention his beautiful uniform."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    Early Bird Gets the Worm
    "I love getting up to shoot the sunrise. Dawn and dusk produce the best light for photography. The morning we drove up the hill to get a view of Jaipur from Nahargarh Fort was particularly special. I was very focused on the cityscape and how the buildings turned from blue to white as the sun rose. But a few minutes before we left, I looked down from the fort’s wall to see this scene. I loved how this curving road was illuminated by the sun as the bikes drove on it and the people walked up."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    Cinematic Moments
    "When we visited Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, we noticed peculiar things. Parts of the fort were decorated with brightly colored flags and furniture, and men were walking about in particularly bright and traditional garb. It turned out that we had accidentally walked right onto the movie set of a Chinese production."
    Photo by João Canziani
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    A Haunting Tune
    "This is one of the rooms at Raj Niwas Palace. It is hard to convey the opulence and the decor of this mansion—with everything from gazillion-foot fall ceilings to the intricately colorful tiles decorating each room, the maharajah who lived there had it good! The best moment was when we turned on a huge, old, and elegant hand-cranked music box and roamed around every room in the building with that spooky tune as our soundtrack."

    Photo by João Canziani
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