Having spent the early hours of a freezing cold January morning transporting a Herculean quantity of equipment from home to Heathrow, I am finally free to assess the brief for the upcoming GSK project for the hundredth time and prepare myself for the 10.5 hour flight to Mumbai.
Arriving at 1:30 in the morning I am immediately enveloped by the typical Mumbai heat and pollution and, after a good night’s sleep, I’m ready to video and photograph a collection of GSK graduates who have been dubbed ‘future leaders’. A recurring characteristic displayed by these ambitious intellectuals is extreme confidence…if only I’d had it at their age!
After the reconnaissance (‘recce’ as it is referred to in the industry) is complete I then proceed to spend the next four days taking 18 portraits, filming extensive amounts of B-roll footage and spending a whole day with one graduate to eventually produce a two-minute video, the final of these tasks marking the end of my work in Mumbai. Nashik here I come.
The journey from Mumbai to Nashik takes over four hours and is reminiscent of a Top Gear special; perilous, inconvenient and fun. The reason for Nashik being one of my destinations is the manufacturing facility that hosts the production of many medicines, one of these being Albendazole - a tablet used for the prevention and treatment of lymphatic filariasis. GSK have been producing and donating Albendazole via the World Health Organisation for 15 years and it is one of the greatest perks of my job to witness and document the incredibly positive impact these drugs can make on people’s lives.
On my first day in Nashik my main objectives are to meet the people that I will be working with and conduct another recce before filming my B-roll footage. Once this is out of the way, I spend the next two days shooting one minute shorts of 10 different people and photographing another nine people who help to make GSK’s Abendazole Donation programme possible, combining the subjects’ character with beautiful lighting to complete some stunning portraits. Day four marks my last day in Nashik and is used to film one last interview and collect some further B-roll footage of Nashik City before the following day’s four hour drive back to Mumbai, 10.5 hour flight back to Heathrow and two hour taxi ride back to home (it is worth noting that with this long journey ahead of me I decided that on my last night it would be sensible to forgo a native curry and play it safe with a cheese and tomato pizza – possibly the spiciest thing I have ever eaten!).
I am so grateful for the opportunities my job offers me in terms of meeting and experiencing a multitude of diverse peoples and cultures, but there is no denying the feeling of great relief I experience when I eventually come home to damp, cold home.