Monday, April 24, 2017

Young Woman + Landscape, Langha Community, Rajasthan, India, 2017

This past Spring my time in India had taken a new path... landscape photography mixed with environmental portraits of various communities. We headed into western portion of Rajasthan, right on the border with Pakistan. One of the circles we had been blessed to document this week was the Langha Community, famous for their customs and their musical talents.

As a matter of fact, our host showed me four expired passports, all filled on almost every page with visas and entries to various countries around the world. They immediately took us in yesterday and allowed us to stay the night, performing for us both yesterday and today. We sat down with them and exchanged stories, and our hopes as well.

This is a Muslim community which also happens to play music, sing and dance. The boys and men are the ones to do such, while the girls attend school up to fifth class and no more. This is the story of one of the villages within the Langha Community, as other villages may certainly vary regarding these details. We will present this village and our thoughts to this FB circle in the near future, as we believe a small investment will yield incredible results for this community.

This is the daughter of our host, as she allowed us to make her portrait this morning against the backdrop of the Rajasthani desert. The environment in which they live is both stunning and quite harsh. On a daily basis winds blow over the mounds of sand behind her, bringing endless amounts of sand into her home and her lungs. It is an extremely difficult life, almost unimaginable for so many of us.

We hope that perhaps a sewing class, with a dozen machines, will allow the girls and young women to attain a skill set which can then be used to make clothing both for the local and for the global market... details to be shared soon!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dance Star @ Home, Rajasthan, India, 2017

Previous to this image we witnessed her dancing capabilities at the school as the 'music machine' was delivered to her classroom. She danced and danced and danced as the music continued, her lips moving to the words of the songs. It was quite the experience, and we now have yet another project to document upon our return to her village next year.

For those of us contributing to her school we present her portrait. She attends one of the two schools funded by a dozen wonderful benefactors on FB, and my hope is that we can do much more in her region of Rajasthan.

This portrait was made in her home, along with the portraits of her sisters and friends. We wanted to make fun images for them to have, to thank them for granting me my film images during my last visit. She has truly grown up and has become an incredible presence in front of the camera... truly a force to behold.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Young Woman + Home, Rajasthan, India, 2017

This post was written originally on International Women's Day, 2017.

In honor of the women and girls who have blessed me with their portraits, and of course my Mother, I share her portrait on this International Women's Day. We were in her presence yesterday and just this afternoon, and were once again fortunate enough to make her portrait. She has been photographed by me for the past ten years, and the previous portrait shared on my page happens to be her brother.

She was a student in the initial Humana India school, and has continued with her studies thanks to the support of her family. Her father believes in his daughters, and sends all of them to school. She is a brave spirit, and takes care of her younger siblings in spite of the loss of her mother at a young age.

On the day of this portrait, the girls dressed up in their favorite clothes and ran back and forth with great excitement as the shutter clicked. They put on the most beautiful clothing, and of course made up their faces. To be in a house filled with girl spirits, and to be allowed to document their creativity, is a feeling unlike any other... and is a perfect sentiment to share on the most auspicious of days!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Two Students + Field, Rajasthan, India, 2017

The following was written in the field on March 7, 2017:

A few hours ago we left these two girls' village, after leaving perhaps 2,000 photographs for the students in the school. They will have their hands full in the morning going through the images, and we will be there to see their reactions. We will also be making more photographs, and watching their school in action as well!

For this image we walked over to a field a hundred or so meters from the school, where we had unfiltered access to sunshine and a bit of privacy. The children had gone home for the afternoon and came back for the photography. Most live within shouting distance of this field, and came back gladly to take part in the now familiar scene.

After the formal portraits were made, we made color photographs with the girls in various combinations... two or three at a time, best friends and sisters together. The colors popped out since all came after school, having changed at home. For those of us supporting these schools, more will be shared tomorrow!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

One Family + School, Rajasthan, India, 2017

The following was written on March 6, 2017:

In two hours we head to Virat Nagar from Alwar to hand out the photographs from two weeks ago, including the ones from this series. For those of us involved in the two schools in Rajasthan, we present this portrait of one family... all of whose children attend one of the two schools.

On this morning we had finished with photography at the school and were heading out of the village when we were greeted as always by these children, living on the outskirts of the village. We would normally wave as we drove by, and at times stop to say hello... but never stopped for longer than that. It seemed about time that we did, so we did!

We asked if the children wanted some photographs inside the house, and all agreed. The person accompanying me at the time went ahead and began asking the children to stand in front of the camera, as they were when we arrived, for he like all those before him took my offer at its face value. Instead of fully engaging the children and inquiring about their concepts, it was moving forward without much creativity.

Fortunately he is a good man, and listened to my request to allow the children the time to do as they wished for the photography. The results were truly enchanting as the girls went back and forth and put their best clothes on over the next forty or so minutes. He realized at that point the value of including the children in the process, and how in doing so we truly respected their minds and hearts.

The girls, and boy, took it all in and loved the moment... hurrying back and forth thinking that we were also in a hurry. Once they realized that we were there for them, the shyness disappeared and they took fully advantage thankfully of our time in their home. It was an honor for me to have so much of their trust, and we look forward to seeing them in a few hours.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Best Friends, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017

For those coming together on behalf of these young girls' school, their portrait is being shared. This was made during our initial visit last week, as Nirvana and his team joined in on the conversation regarding the new curriculum in these young students' school. Their combined portrait was made after the formal portraits on film, providing the girls with a chance to be more spontaneous with their expressions.

...spontaneous they were!

The variety of expressions made me review my approach, and from this point forward such portraits will also be recorded with film. It is an exciting time, mainly for the school of course... but also from my standpoint photographically. My hope is that these portraits convey a sense of the excitement in the air for those of us interested in this work.

These portraits were also made possible with the sincere cooperation of the community and our hosts. The name of our headmaster from the school is missing out of respect for his desire for privacy, but he needs to be mentioned for without him none of this would even be possible.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

3 Friends + Students, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017

Just two days ago this image was made, thanks to the beautiful students at this madrasa... and of course our hosts Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Munshad Ali Chauhan. The students were playing around with expressions after our formal session, and made groups of two and three in the process.

Some would look at the camera while some would look at me, or my shaved head if the hat was off. The expressions varied greatly, as in this image alone. Every time we informed the girls that now the smaller camera would be used, and that it was time to make group photographs... the gloves were off.

Poor Mukesh Poswal would have his hands full, with almost 30 girls speaking at the same time and asking to be photographed next. This session was recorded with a video camera as well, and is a treasure to behold. The colors are almost as vibrant as the girls, and their love for each other.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Best Friends + Madrasa, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017

After our photography these days we include a spontaneous session as well, inviting the girls to let loose truly and be with their best friends. In contrast to the single, formal portraits... the variation in these images has been most enlightening. It is a way for these girls to be themselves, to have fun with poses and gestures. They are truly having a blast, and cannot help themselves!

Over and over again they ask for the opportunity to try something different, and when two see what another two have done... they want to do better. It is wonderful to see, the smiles are infectious!

The begin to hold hands, to hug each other, to show their affections without worry. The reactions are marvelous to witness.

The excitement is in the air as this madrasa prepares to include a fuller curriculum, and the students can feel it. These girls share their smiles with us, with those of us especially who have come forward to take part in this effort. On behalf of these girls I share my personal gratitude.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Young Student + Landscape, Madhya Pradesh, India, 2016

Last year we had the privilege of visiting MP with the guidance of Humana India. Thanks to Mukesh Poswal, we were able to make some memorable portraits. Mainly we visited schools set up by Humana India, in order to help out of school children mainstream into the government system. We were able to visit more than a dozen schools... and make include the children in the photography.

My hope is that these children were able to mainstream into the existing school system, and that the work of Humana People to People India benefited the communities in the intended manner. Perhaps next year we will be able to visit once again, and thanks to that visit we will be able to proceed with the program in Uttar Pradesh in a more learned manner.

This past week we have had fruitful conversations with the four communities and hope to proceed as planned. In one village the existing madrasa is poised to include a formal curriculum, while in the other three sewing classes have been discussed as an entry into the communities. For those of you who have donated your efforts on behalf of this movement, we thank you and will share images soon.

We began with one, and now have four included in the conversation!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.