India: The Elephant Dances!

Pictures and stories of diversity in transition.

It all began in the summer of 1995. I had just finished school when my grandmother asked me to join her on a trip to India to visit her Guru. Even though I left the ashram a few days later, the love for the subcontinent has endured to this day. Numerous journeys later I decided to write this book. And so, after finishing university I travelled for 6 months visiting large parts of the country in 2008. This time it was not only about visiting great temples, beaches and the joy of traveling; this time I saw India with a different lens. I sought the people and places that to my conviction symbolize contemporary India.

After two years and 300 pages later “India: The Elephant Dances! Pictures and stories of a diversity in transition”, shows the beauty of the subcontinent through pages and pages of wonderful photography bedded in a stunning layout while also transporting the fascination the country invokes: A nation of superlatives, where a unique diversity encounters rapid socio-economic change. To this end, the book contains a collection of essays on the subjects of diversity and change. The lusciously illustrated essays revolve around true stories that have moved the country, each one exemplifying a major facet of India. The idea behind this approach was to fill in at times a complex matter with life and to explain it in an exciting fashion that is understandable to all. On only a few pages, the book succeeds in giving the reader a first, up to date glance at a wide range of topics, that are important to an understanding of contemporary India.

From urban Mumbai to holy Varanasi and the desserts of Rajasthan, India is more than the sum of its phenomena. India is passion beauty, bitter and sweet. The 240 page coffee table book section is all about the visual splendor of India, the colors and the exceptional Indian light. It follows the route of my voyage, from Mumbai to the most southern and eastern parts of the subcontinent, up north to Rajasthan and Punjab down to the vast plains of Uttar Pradesh.

This book is a great companion for all those interested in India, that entertain the thought of visiting the country and want to take a glance at the heart and soul of this nation, without having to abstain from emotion, sensuality or a qualified background.

Even though this book has helped me a lot in finding my way as a professional photographer with a wealth of new contacts, it has remained unpublished. I am still searching for a publisher willing to present this book to a wider audience.

Look inside the book
Click thumbnail to view pdf.

The Autor & Photographer / The Layouter

Daniel Esswein – Daniel lives and works as a photographer in Frankfurt/Main. He is responsible for the food-photography on numerous cookbooks. Apart from 4 GAD Gold-medals he has won the „Gourmand World Cookbook Award“ for the best cookbook photography in Germany twice and in 2015 he was on the “Gourmand” short list for the worlds best cookbook photography.
Apart from that, Daniel works as a photographer for the food industry, food trade, gastronomy as well as for various magazines. He also has interests beyond photography and is active in several projects in the areas of art and design.

Tomáš Matoušek – Tomáš Matoušek is a graphic designer from Frankfurt who started off as a carpenter and later on earned his diploma as designer concentrating on editorial design at a school for art and design in Berlin, Germany. He is at home in both professions, his assignments range from the interior design of restaurants to corporate identity concepts for medium-sized businesses. „Upcycling Art“ is one of his passions in which he unites both disciplines.
Finding balance through exercise, Tomáš likes to go for a walk with his dogs or play ice hockey.

Daniel Esswein

Food and cookbook photographer
in Frankfurt on the Main


+49 (0) 69 91318297
+49 (0) 152 54250642