Indrani (photographer)

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Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri is an Indian-Canadian-British director and photographer.

She was described as a "feminist director and fashion photographer" by Julianne E. Shepherd of Jezebel[1] "known mononymously" for her "iconic imagery and visionary storytelling...A mix of gritty realism and surreal fantasy."[2] Shinjini Das of the Huffington Post wrote that "Indrani is internationally recognized for her extensive work on social causes and her video and stills campaigns."[3] While she was a student at Princeton, David Bowie discovered her work and commissioned her first album cover with Klinko for Heathen.[4][5] A dozen years later, Bowie also launched her directorial career, commissioning her first major music video, for his song "Valentine's Day" on his album The Next Day.[6]

Early life, modeling career and education[edit]

Indrani was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She was raised in a ruined 300-room palace, the Pal-Chaudhuri House, as her father, Ajay Pal-Chaudhuri, hailed from an historic Indian family, while her British mother was a volunteer with Mother Teresa.[7] Both her parents worked as accountants.[8] She grew up in Ranaghat, India.[8] There, she witnessed "the devastating poverty that stood in stark contrast to her own childhood," which motivated her to someday make a difference in the area.[8]

At age 9, she moved to Toronto, Canada.[9] Initially, the experience was a "rude shock," as she was perceived as different from her classmates.[8] Indrani began modeling at 14, in order to study photography and film with artists around the world, and became a rising star.[10] She attended Havergal College.[9] At 18, she returned to turn her family home into a charitable school to give girls a better future.[8][11] The school was named Shakti Empowerment Education and currently educates around 300 youth, both girls and boys.[7]

In 2001 Indrani graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology, magna cum laude (with High Honors).[12] She won Glamour's Top 10 College Women Competition.[13][14]

Photography career[edit]

In 1995, Indrani met the Swiss classical harpist Markus Klinko.[15] They became known as a fashion photography duo.[16] According to Fast Company, "When Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri teamed up in 1995, both were already stars--Klinko as a classical harpist and Indrani as a fashion model." [10]

David Bowie commissioned their work for the cover of his album Heathen;[5] and supermodel Iman asked them to shoot the covers for her book I am Iman. Indrani's fashion work was discovered by Isabella Blow, a "renowned style icon who discovered some of the fashion world's most important figures,"[17] who commissioned cover stories for the London Sunday Times.[7] Around the same time, Ingrid Sischy, at Interview magazine commissioned various shoots. She credits Blow, Bowie and Iman for teaching her to push her creative boundaries.[15] Markus and Indrani created award-winning covers for Beyoncé's solo debut Dangerously in Love, Mariah Carey's Emancipation of Mimi and Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough[18] among others. According to Fast Company, "Now they are famous for their iconic images of celebrities...and advertising projects for the likes of Shiseido, Puma and Anna Sui." [10]

Indrani's work has been shown in over 20 exhibitions,[19] such as the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC in 2013, "Dancing the Dream" (with Klinko).[20] Exhibitions devoted to Indrani and Markus include among others the 2009 exhibition at the Pacific Design Center LA, presented by the Lucie Foundation in concert with the Month of Photography Los Angeles and the Farmani Gallery,[21] and the Icons Exhibition presented by The Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art NY and Bravo TV to celebrate "Double Exposure" on June 16, 2010.[22]

In 2013 the Lincoln Center presented a week-long 30-piece public art exhibition of Indrani and Klinko's work Icons, to accompany the release of the photobook, Icons: The celebrity exposures of Markus and Indrani, published by Perseus Press.[23] Icons is described as the product of 18 years as "a visionary tour de force" by Katie Amey for Elle;[24] and “High-concept and hyperrealism commingle” by Kimberley Jones for the Austin Chronicle.[25]

Directing career[edit]

Since 2011 Indrani has won acclaim as a director, cinematographer and executive producer of films and commercials.[7] Her first video and stills campaign with TBWA-Chiat-Day for Keep a Child Alive against AIDS in India and Africa won two gold lions at Cannes in 2011.[26] Indrani then directed a short documentary for PSI and the UN's Nothing But Nets featuring ambassador actress Mandy Moore.[27] In 2012 she directed a "trailer-style video", The Girl Epidemic to raise awareness of female infanticide [28] for Project Nanhi Kali with ad agency Strawberry Frog. Described by the Huffington Post's Katherine Brooks as "powerful" and by Scott Goodson for Forbes: "brilliant and provocative!"[29] Her short "Crescendo," curated by Pepsi's Beats of the Beautiful Game, uses football to empower girls in India and is described by Julianne Shepherd of Jezebel as a "Rad Feminist Short Film...A jubilant, sweet clip...(with) an underlying feminist message"[30]" and by Katherine Brooks of The Huffington Post as "Photographer uses football to empower girls in India"[31] in partnership with nonprofits Sambhali Trust, Yuwa, and SEEschool.

In 2013 Indrani directed David Bowie's "Valentine's Day" video, about which Eric Danton of Rolling Stone says Bowie "radiates intensity"[32] and Robin Hilton of NPR says "it is thrilling and intense"[33] and Louise Sanders of The Daily Mail calls "Dazzling."[34] Also in 2013 Indrani directed a music video for Alicia Keys' "New Day" described as "bold and high-energy" by Jenna Rubenstein for MTV,[35] as well as music videos for Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey in 2014.

"The Legend of Lady White Snake" short film was written and directed by Indrani, inspired by an ancient Chinese story, with a poem by Neil Gaiman, "The Hidden Chamber" [36] starring "fashion icon and brewery fortune heiress"[37] Daphne Guinness in costumes by GK Reid and Alexander McQueen.[23]

"Till Human Voices Wake Us", a short film produced by Rick Schwartz (Black Swan, Gangs of New York), was written and directed by Indrani, creative directed and executive produced by GK Reid, and stars Lindsay Lohan and a dozen new actresses the team discovered through a large talent search. A dream within a dream, of Selkies, mythical creatures that are women on land and seals in water, the film reminds viewers of the magic and mysteries of the creatures of the sea, and is a plea for sustainability of the oceans.[38]

For "Girl Rising, India" a feature-length documentary film for girls' empowerment, Indrani directed the Bollywood stars Freida Pinto, Priyanka Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Nandita Das Priyanka Chopra Sushmita Sen and Madhuri Dixit for the original Indian content, with a photo and video campaign which she also directed, that trended on Twitter when released on August 29, 2015.[3][39]

Films which Indrani has directed and produced have won numerous awards including first prize in four categories at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival 2015 for "Best Picture," "Best Visual Effects," "Best Costumes" and "Best Production Design; "Best Film," "Best Director" and "Best Design" at the London Fashion Film Festival 2015, "Best of Festival" at the Princeton Film Festival, 2015, "Best Film" at the International Fashion Film Festival Los Angeles 2015, first prize in the top four categories at the International Fashion Film Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, including "Best Film," "Best Director," "Best Fashion," "Best Special Effects" and the RED Camera Award,[40] have screened at the Milan Fashion Film Festival and the Los Angeles Short Film Festival 2015 [41]


Indrani's work has won many awards:

  • 2001, Indrani won Glamour Magazine's "Top 10 College Women Award"
  • 2004, Alex Award for Beyonce's "Dangerously in Love" album cover
  • 2007, Indrani and Markus Klinko won "Best of Show" International Photography Awards and Lucie Award
  • 2010, Honoree for Exceptional Achievement at "Elite Awards" by South Asia Magazine
  • 2011, 2 Gold Lions at Cannes for "Digital Death" for Keep A Child Alive /TBWA NY.
  • 2012, Indrani received the top award of "Best Picture" and the awards for "Best Director," "Best Costume Design," "Best Visual Effects" and the "RED Epic Camera Award" at the LJ Fashion Film Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
  • 2013 and 2015, Indrani screened at ASVOFF at the Center Pompidou, Paris.
  • 2015, Indrani was a finalist and screened Opening Night at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival.
  • 2015, Indrani was a finalist at the Milan Fashion Film Festival, Italy.
  • 2015, Indrani received the top award of "Best of Festival" at the Princeton University Film Festival.
  • 2015, Indrani received the top award for "Best Film," and the awards for "Best Director" and "Best Accessories Design" at the London Fashion Film Festival.
  • 2015, Indrani received the top award for "Best Film" and was nominated for "Best Director" at the International Fashion Film Festival with Cinemoi in Los Angeles.
  • 2015, Indrani received the top award for "Best Picture," and the awards for "Best Production Design," "Best Costume Design" and "Best Visual Effects" at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.
  • 2016, Indrani received the top award for "Best of New York," at the New York Short Film Festival.
  • 2016, Indrani received the award for "Best Director," at the London Fashion Film Festival.
  • 2016, Indrani received the award for "Best Director," at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

TV series and media[edit]

Indrani, Klinko, and creative director GK Reid were the subjects of Bravo reality show called Double Exposure"[42] documenting their photo shoots from initial thought to hard copy.[43][44] According to Troy Patterson of Slate, “Themes include the aesthetics of desire, the symbiosis of artist and muse.”[45] The show is described by Zoë Ruderman as “like America's Next Top Model and Project Runway mixed together and on speed.”[46]

Created in the US for the Bravo network, Double Exposure has been syndicated in over a hundred countries.[47][48]

Indrani has been a guest on America's Next Top Model, Make Me a Supermodel, and was interviewed for E! News, Access Hollywood, Fashion Television, CNN's Showbiz Tonight and Larry King Live.[49]


In 1994, Indrani founded Shakti Empowerment Education otherwise known as,[7][47] turning her family's palace into a school for poor kids. The school provides free education to 300 impoverished children in her native Kolkata, India, with an emphasis on the rights of girls.[7][50][n 1] "She is in charge of fundraising, advertising, and development."[27] Pesta of The Daily Beast says "Indrani changes the fate of forgotten girls...and is fighting to give girls a better future."[47]

Indrani was Special Advisor to the UNGMDF World Fashion Forum [51] and Director of Relations at the UN World Film Forum 2013-2015.[31][39]


  1. ^ See


  1. ^ "Watch this Rad Feminist Short Film of Girls Playing Soccer in Jodhpur
  2. ^ Saket Suman, The Statesman
  3. ^ a b "I Am Girl Rising". The Huffington Post. 
  4. ^ ICONS by Markus + Indrani" Running Press © 2012
  5. ^ a b "Markus and Indrani ICONS book". David Bowie Official Website. 
  6. ^ Wera Engelhardt, "'Ich verdanke ihm meine Karriere': Fotografin nimmt Abschied von ihrem Mentor", Focus, 11 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Abigail Pesta, "A fashionista’s India dream: Indrani changes the fate of forgotten girls", Daily Beast, 7 October 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e Pesta, Abigail (2012-07-10). "A Fashionista's India Dream: Indrani Changes the Fate of Forgotten Girls". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  9. ^ a b "Stalbert Gazette". 
  10. ^ a b c "Contributors". Fast Company. 
  11. ^ Eyestrane, "Diwali goddess Indrani", Asiance, 29 September 2011.
  12. ^ Lindsay Sakraida, "The truth about Markus Klinko + Indrani", American Photo Magazine, 1 November 2009.
  13. ^ Brett Tomlinson, "Tiger of the Week: Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri '01", Princeton University Alumni Blog, 16 June 2010.
  14. ^ Lynya Floyd, Amanda Hinnant and Samantha Youngman, "Glamour's top 10 college women", Glamour, October 2000
  15. ^ a b Lindsay Sakraida, "Behind the scenes of 'Double Exposure'",, 16 December 2009.
  16. ^ Niles White, "Markus Klinko and Indrani: galactic fashion", Digital Photo Pro, 13 June 2007.
  17. ^ Polly Dunbar, "They blamed me for her suicide: Style icon Isabella Blow's husband tells how he was snubbed at her funeral after she poisoned herself with weedkiller - even though she had tried to kill herself seven times", Mail Online, 16 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Markus Klinko and Indrani: Stars and fashion icons", Art Photo Expo.
  19. ^ [1] "From Beyoncé to Bravo: Pal-Chaudhuri ’01 balances Hollywood with 'socially minded' art." Daily Princetonian, Angela Wang February 5, 2014,
  20. ^ "Dancing the dream: Beyoncé born 1981", Smithsonian Institution.
  21. ^ Erin Clark, "Month of photography L.A.: Markus Klinko and Indrani",, 23 April 2009.
  22. ^ [2] Entertainment
  23. ^ a b Natalie Stone, "Hollywood photographers Markus+Indrani release 'Icons' portrait book", Hollywood Reporter, 6 November 2012.
  24. ^ Katie Amey, "Exclusive: celebrity photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani debut their first book Icons", Elle, 7 November 2012.
  25. ^ Kimberley Jones, "Coffee table iconoclasts; oversized books and outsized personalities" Austin Chronicle, 30 November 2012.
  26. ^ "Digital death",; accessed by the Wayback Machine on 11 July 2011.
  27. ^ a b Katherine Federici Greenwood, "Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri '01: Celebrity photographer", Princeton Alumni Weekly, 27 October 2010.
  28. ^ "The Girl Epidemic (PHOTOS)". The Huffington Post. 
  29. ^ Scott Goodson "Should they ban The Girl Epidemic?" of Forbes, 2 June 2012.
  30. ^ Julianne Escobedo Shepherd. "Watch This Rad Feminist Short Film of Girls Playing Soccer in Jodhpur". Jezebel. 
  31. ^ a b "Kolkata-Born Photographer Uses Football To Empower Girls In India". The Huffington Post. 
  32. ^ Eric R Danton David Bowie radiates intensity in 'Valentine's Day'", Rolling Stone, 16 July 2013.
  33. ^ Robin Hilton [3] "NPR Music," 16 July 2013.
  34. ^ "David Bowie releases stripped-down video for new track Valentine's Day... after controversy over his depiction as Christ - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. 
  35. ^ Jenna Hally Rubenstein, "New video: Alicia Keys, ‘New Day’",, 1 May 2013.
  36. ^ Cator Sparks, "Do it Daphne! Guinness shines in short film based on ancient Chinese legend", Huffington Post, 4 March 2012.
  37. ^ Jacki Lyden, "Daphne Guinness: An icon on fashion’s cutting edge", National Public Radio, 13 November 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  38. ^ . "Till Human Voices Wake Us". Viva Today. 
  39. ^ a b "Bengali girl directs Priyanka Chopra's 'Girl Rising' film". The Times of India. 
  40. ^ Pesta, Abigail (November 24, 2012). "Shooting the Stars With Fashion Photographers Markus and Indrani". The Daily Beast. 
  41. ^ "Ranaghat girl's short with Lindsay Lohan to be screened at LA fest". The Times of India. 
  42. ^ "Showbiz tonight: Defending Mel Gibson; Sandra Bullock's new battle; Brangelina's marriage bombshell; Paul the octopus retires", CNN.
  43. ^ "It takes two! We pick our favorite photographic duos", Nowness, 23 June 2010.
  44. ^ Tim Nudd, "Rachel Zoe and Kelly Cutrone make reality TV stylish", TV Watch, 11 January 2010.
  45. ^ Troy Patterson, "Strike a pose", Slate Magazine, 23 June 2010
  46. ^ Zoe Ruderman, "The hot show to watch tonight", Cosmopolitan, 15 June 2010.
  47. ^ a b c Double Exposure, FoxLife. (Portuguese)
  48. ^ "Double Exposure", BeTV. Accessed by the Wayback Machine on 3 June 2013.
  49. ^ Terri Schwartz, "Lindsay Lohan's father, friends protest jail time on 'Larry King Live'",, 20 July 2010.
  50. ^ Beth Cooney Fitzpatrick, "'Double Exposure' stars Markus Klinko and Indrani on Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell, and Photoshop",, 15 June 2010. Accessed by the Wayback Machine on 21 July 2011.
  51. ^ "Multitasker model Indrani Pal Chaudhuri fuses fashion with woman power". Folomojo. 

External links[edit]