Today’s Creative People interview is with Christine Chitnis, an author, photographer, and publishing consultant from Providence, Rhode Island. Christine has spent the past decade traveling to India with her husband and three children. Her stunning photographs from those journeys form the basis of her new book, Patterns of India: A Journey Through Colors, Textiles, and the Vibrancy of Rajasthan.
I asked her about the inspiration behind her work, and the challenges she faces as an artist, creative professional, and parent.
Here is her story.
Our family enjoys sightseeing during our travels to India, visiting palaces, forts, and museums, but we spend the majority of our time experiencing everyday life in markets, temples, and friends’ homes. This intimate perspective is what I hope to reflect in this collection. To be a traveler is to pay heightened attention to the ordinary, and that is what I strive to celebrate in my photography: the ordinary moments that feel extraordinary.
India is indeed an extraordinary place, with grandeur, opulence and beauty galore. But it is also a place where people go about their daily lives and as tourists, it is our job to visit India with respect and knowledge of their culture. I hope this book makes learning about the history and visuals of Rajasthan into an enjoyable and beautiful experience so that travelers can visit with a deep respect.
The biggest challenge to my creative work recently has been the lack of childcare, school, and camp. With three children, ages 9, 8, and 2, I depend on those for my working hours. The work that I do, especially writing and editing, requires prolonged periods of quiet, where I can concentrate and formulate my thoughts. That is hard to come by these days! My photography practice has also suffered because most days I am busy trying to complete work for my paying clients and care for my children. There aren’t moments in which I can simply wander with my camera in hand. My creative practice fuels me, and I miss it greatly, though I’m finding immense joy each day with my children and appreciate this unique time where our calendars are free from all commitments and we can spend time together as a family.
My biggest personal challenge is simply prioritizing the time that I need to pursue my artistic practice, whether that be photography, or my other loves: knitting, sewing, and natural dyeing. Between work and parenting, it can be hard to set aside time to play, experiment, and make. I’m getting better at it now that my kids are a bit older, but the ideas swirling around in my head far outnumber the hours in any week, month, or year!
Creative expression, whether in the form of a photograph or a skein of marigold dyed yarn, infuses my life with joy. I hope that through my work I can share that beauty with others, make a connection and perhaps bring them joy and inspiration. It’s really as simple as that.
Thanks so much for sharing work, Christine, and best of luck with your new book!
You can find Christine’s work on her website, or find her book at your favorite bookstore.