Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Face + Hands, Elder, Humana People to People India, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, October 30, 2013

We were almost finished for the morning, the desire to return was building up on the people around me. However the young, local boy alongside me pushed to go up one more street. We did and ran into this older gentleman sitting on the corner of a wide open street.

The team walked past him and continued up the street, while I was enthralled with his features and styling. I asked my team to gain his permission, and with the help of another local man we were granted permission. He was hard of hearing, and has lost sight in one of his eyes. The people around us were most helpful, and guided him to the other corner of the street to be photographed with direct sunlight.

He was beyond great, allowed me to also photograph his hands, both with film and with a digital format. He was so patient, while those around us wondered for limitless reasons regarding our intention and purpose.

After we were finished, I had the privilege of shaking this man's hands… and in gaining his trust for the portraits made this morning. I cannot wait to see the negatives, but will settle for the digital image above as a preview.
Halim Ina Photography

Monday, October 28, 2013

Young Student, Schools for Girls, Humana People to People India, Mewat District, Haryana, India, October 28, 2013

This is my first time in the villages of Mewat District through my photography. The children are absolutely beautiful, both boys and girls. While I have become accustomed to walking into new scenes, doing such on so many different variables is extremely exciting.

In the beginning it seemed inaccessible, but with the guidance of a few young men from the village as well as the good people of Humana People to People India, all fell into place as the first girls agreed to their portraits with extreme ease. They stepped up onto a landing in front of a closed storefront and waited for the camera to be set up. They then allowed me to photograph them in front of two or so dozen people from their own village, mostly boys and men. The courage of young girls such as this one above never ceases to amaze me, and they offer of themselves like someone placing a message into a bottle for the world to witness in the future.

Just a few hours after this was posted, a dear sister named Tracey shared her kind words:

This beautifully modest young lade sends a silent yet emphatically powerful message. She knows something the world does not yet know. Her smile and brilliant gaze gracefully and unmistakably command attention from the world to understand her clandestine message. She is strong, she is courageous, she is very intelligent. SHE and her fellow sisters of Mewat are resolute, THEY ARE THE FUTURE that brings more light into this world. Her message in the bottle has arrived and is understood.

Humana People to People India has arranged for two schools in this large village, and we can only hope that this young girl and her sisters will find their places within these schools. It's a beginning only but the collaboration holds great promise.
Halim Ina Photography

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Three Men, Humana People to People India, Mewat District, India, October 27, 2013

First contact with the new villages was made earlier this afternoon, and we sat down with the elders to gain permission for the photography of their girls. Quite surprisingly they were more than willing to have their portraits made and we started the collaboration on a great note.

Prior to this moment everyone told me this: the new villages promise to be most conservative, perhaps even resistant to both the projects and the photography. This is new territory in my collaboration with Humana People to People India, a predominantly Islamic population in a rural setting. However, all walls disappeared as the clumsy camera was removed from the bag and mounted onto the tripod. Curiosity displaced resistance as usual and all eyes were on this man, the one with the long beard!

Tomorrow morning we return to this village and give the girls their chance in front of the lens… the faces were just out of this world as we walked through the two villages this afternoon!
Halim Ina Photography

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Willys, Emblem, La Habana, Cuba, July 31, 2013

In the past we'd just end the photography when clouds approached, perhaps go home early. This year the approach was different and thus opened up an entirely new arena of images for me. Rather than putting the camera down, we saw the approaching clouds as an opportunity to use subdued, natural light for images of car emblems.

My dear friend Alejandro knew all of the drivers since he himself owns a 1954 Chevrolet, red with a white top. We approached only cars in original condition, at least regarding the emblems and aesthetics. Most of the gasoline engines had been replaced with diesel engines a long time ago, and parts were of course hard to come by regarding maintaining originality.

As advised by Alejandro, almost all of the replacement parts were manufactured on the island, from the hand-carved door handles to the glass windshields. All of the owners had a sincere sense of pride when our camera was set up to photograph their cars. Just like their brethren up north, a serious car culture exists among them.

The image above is of a Willys emblem, one that impressed Alejandro very much. We had seen it a few times before but his friend always needed to carry his passengers elsewhere in a hurry. This time the car was sitting for a few minutes and we took this chance to document its character.

According to Wikipedia:

Willys was the brand name used by Willys-Overland Motors, an American automobile company best known for its design and production of military Jeeps (MBs) and civilian versions (CJs) during the 20th century.
In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 1912 renamed it Willys-Overland Motor Company. From 1912 to 1918, Willys was the second largest producer of automobiles in the United States after Ford Motor Company.
In 1913, Willys acquired a license to build the Charles Knight's sleeve-valve engine which it used in cars bearing the Willys-Knight nameplate. In the mid-1920s, Willys also acquired the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland, Ohio and assumed continued production of the Stearns-Knight luxury car as well.
John Willys acquired the Electric Auto-Lite Company in 1914 and in 1917 formed the Willys Corporation to act as his holding company. In 1916, it acquired the Russell Motor Car Company of TorontoOntarioCanada, by 1917 New Process Gear, and in 1919 acquired the Duesenberg Motors Company plant inElizabeth, New Jersey. The New Jersey plant was replaced by a new, larger facility and was to be the site of production for a new Willys Six, but the 1920 recession brought the Willys Corporation to its knees. The bankers hired Walter P. Chrysler to sort out the mess and the first model to go was the Willys Six, deemed an engineering disaster. Chrysler had auto engineers Owen Skelton, Carl Breer and Fred Zeder begin work on a new car, the Chrysler Six.
In 1917 Ward M. Canaday, who had been doing advertising for the company, became a full-time employee.
In order to raise cash needed to pay off debts, all of the Willys Corporation assets were on the auction block. The Elizabeth plant and the Chrysler Six prototype were sold to William C. Durant, then in the process of building a new, third empire. The plant built Durant's low priced Star, while the Chrysler Six prototype was improved and modified, becoming the 1923 Flint.
Walter Chrysler moved on to Maxwell-Chalmers, where in January 1924 he launched his own version of the six-cylinder Chrysler he had been working on, based partly on elements developed at Willys. (In 1925 the Maxwell car company became the Chrysler Corporation.)
Halim Ina Photography

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dancer + Hands, La Habana del Este, Cuba, August 5, 2013

Many times it is better to include words of another to describe one's work, and here is one such example:

'WOW! I see such exquisite images of birds dancing. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!! Great work from both of you! It never ceases to amaze me the beauty you present!'

'This is a universal message the world can see and understand regarding the internal beauty and humanity this woman can express without a word spoken. No English needed, universal beautiful humanity...... I'm hypnotized.'

These are the words of Tracey McDaniel, and impressed me deeply this evening. Upon reading them I asked if they could be used in this entry, and she responded with total enthusiasm. I am proud to know her and her daughter, and look forward to photographing her entire family one day soon.
Halim Ina Photography

Amber + Polaroid, Rooftop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 2013

This image was made from our second session together, and more will be shared when the film is processed. As we were leaving the rooftop I decided to make two Polaroid exposures. The above is of Amber of course, and the second was made of me by Amber.

The sun was even more perfect on this day, and I cannot wait to receive the images.
Halim Ina Photography

Amber + Hands + Ring, Rooftop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 2013

We met a few months ago in passing at the Algebra Teahouse, and then walked separate paths until just a few weeks ago. When returning to the same spot after my time in Cuba for a warm meal, Amber remembered me as a photographer and we struck up a conversation.

A few minutes later the meal was served with the kindest of smiles, and it was then that I knew we were going to collaborate. The food was incredible, but the conversation was even sweeter. We talked with others in our company, and then planned to meet a morning for a session.

One arranged morning clouds appeared and we rescheduled. The next morning some clouds were on the horizon but we decided to meet anyway at a local spot. We met with two of her friends, and had something to drink early. As we were talking the sun peered through the clouds and we decided to take a chance. We walked over to my building and quickly arranged the rooftop for our photography.

The sun was still pretty high, but Amber did wonderfully placing her features so as to minimize the shadows cast. Then I noticed her hands and asked to photograph them. She accepted and we did so for one roll of film. When asked about the ring on her finger, she produced a beautiful smile and told me its story. It made the images even more striking, and memorable.

I look forward to a lifetime of such images with Amber and to recording her voice when she is ready to share it with the girls in my portfolio.


Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Anais + Beach, La Habana del Este, Cuba, August 5, 2013

Just last night I spoke with her Mother and her Brother, a bit surreal considering that most from my work seem worlds away until I visit them. We talked for ten minutes, I heard her voice in the background and was content just to know that they were thinking of our collaboration even in my absence.

Here she is in the water with her full ballet outfit, giving it her all like the truest of professionals. This young girl never quits, and always puts herself second to the work... has my sincerest respect and appreciation. She is quite aware that the work is second to her in my mind, but gives 110% regardless. I love and admire her.


Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Claudia x 4, Roll 6, La Habana del Este, Cuba, July 27, 2012

In this film strip Claudia shows all of us a glimpse of her spirit. Perhaps over sixty rolls of 120 film have been exposed of her since we met three years ago and in none of the frames does she present the same expression, as seen from this series. In the hot and humid afternoon she gives of herself and still has more to give until the sun disappears, outlasting both the sun and my supply of film for that day.

We met while looking for her sister from the previous year. She walked into the living room of her cousin's house when she heard of two strangers visiting. I still remember the expression on her face and how it turned from responding to the mundane to full joy, albeit a reserved form. She was quiet them and remains quiet to this day, choosing to express herself through the image rather than through the spoken word.

This past year, towards the end of my visit however, she reached out and spoke volumes. She did so in the back seat of Alejandro's 1954 Chevrolet and with me as we waited for the sun one afternoon. To be able to understand her thoughts in her language is a blessing beyond description. All of those hours listening to Spanish lessons in my car on the way to work simply faded away and her voice filled the entire space.

I hope that this year's images are as striking and look forward to a much deeper collaboration next summer.


Note: This series was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180mm combination.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Anais, Dancer + Sister, Pan American Stadium, Alamar, Cuba, July 28, 2012

You give her a chance and she expresses herself! 

Once again we're at the Pan American Stadium just outside the capital, a place that has become her own. She has the ability to work alone with me and at such a tender age. She needs very little direction and works with adults four times her age without ever making us feel any different.

We started working on the other side of the stadium against the plain white wall and were taken to this side by her creativity. She saw these statues and immediately was drawn to them. She balanced herself on top of them, struck poses next to them and became part of their world.

She takes me out of my shell and puts me in a more creative environment. Five years we have collaborated and with each passing year she grows by a lifetime. I admire and love this young girl, she is without equal. 

This was my last day in Cuba in 2012 and my last rolls of film were exposed on her behalf, fitting and appropriate.
Halim Ina Photography