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!

Website

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.


Website


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!


Website


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!


Website

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.


Website


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.

Website
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.

Website

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.

Website

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!


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Young Student + Kitchen, Panipat, Haryana, 2017


This past week was spent in Shamli District of Uttar Pradesh, and we were beyond fortunate to have been hosted by our dear friends Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Ch Munshad Ali Chauhan. These two brothers have given us so much since our first meeting in 2013, and continue to do so with an introduction to this young student's school.

Her portrait was made just yesterday, and for most of you earlier today. She and her friends have taken part in my photography for the past two years, and have now joined our family of schools thanks to the generosity of two dozen people here on Facebook. We will begin sewing classes for the older girls in the school, as well as their sisters from the villages. Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team will also begin training the teachers in her school, and we hope improve relations between the two communities in the region through this collaboration.

In this portrait she was photographed in front of the school's kitchen, with the use of a reflector thanks to the brilliant work of Mukesh Poswal. This good man helped me make portraits of the children in the region over the past week... without his assistance none of it would have been possible. We also were able to record her voice as she performed for us in the school's mosque, a true honor indeed.

Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Student in Madrasa, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


This past week we made this young girl's portrait in a field adjacent to her school. We visited her madrasa with the guidance of our host on a beautiful afternoon. She and her friends attend religious classes in the village madrasa, and we hope soon that she will have the opportunity to attend a small school with a full curriculum as well.

A few months ago two dozen of you came together to help fund a movement in this region, and this week it is taking form. One village is ready for this change, and her village is the second one to also come forward. We hope to continue the discussions this week and provide more information regarding the implementation of your generous efforts.

On her and all of the girls' behalf, we thank all of you.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Students + Landscape, MP, 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!


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Young Student, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2016


Tomorrow morning, Indian time, we head to the Shamli District of Uttar Pradesh to meet our Muslim brethren and begin the work so many of you have supported. Two dozen from my FB circle, and a few from this very Google+ network, have come together, including entire classrooms of children, to help make this happen... and tomorrow we join Nirvana Bodhisattva and team in doing so!

Website
Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reunion with Young Girl, Rajasthan, India, 2017


Just an hour or so ago a portrait was made of an 'old' friend, although she was unknown to me at that very moment. We had arranged to stop by her house earlier this week, and make portraits of her and her sisters. As we walked to her home we gathered quite a following and decided to photograph them outside of her home, so as to allow her family some peace during their session.

So we began with the neighbors' children, and made portraits just outside of her home. About 20 minutes through the session a young girl walked into the scene from down the street, with a scarf covering the lower half of her face. There was something about her that made me feel that she knew me, and vice versa. I asked to photograph her and she agreed quickly. Everyone thought that she should uncover her face, but this look intrigued me immensely and she was photographed as she presented.

My curiosity got the best of me halfway through however, and I asked if she would allow a portrait without the scarf. She smiled with her eyes and slowly uncovered herself, revealing to me that she was the very girl we came to photograph. When she saw my reaction, she smiled even more so!

It was the most amazing moment of my visit so far, as we reminisced about our time four years ago, and six years ago when her first portrait was made. We quickly gathered our things and walked to her home so that we could make portraits of her and her sisters before the sun set. The rest of the evening was spent talking about our past experiences, and making photographs for the family and friends.

On our way out her father invited us back for dinner, and such was accepted of course. She never looked away from us as we walked down the street, covered as in this portrait the entire time. We continued to walk and she then caught up to us, passing us quickly all of a sudden. When we turned the corner, there she was with two pieces of candy in her little hands. She ran past us quickly to get to the store before we did, to share those sweet gifts with us.

What an amazing afternoon, and soon to be dinner with her and her family!

Website
Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Three Students + School, Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India, 2017


So the work has begun, and we have visited two schools thus far in Rajasthan. These are the very schools which a dozen of you have come forward to support, and these are three of the students. Two have been enrolled in the school for years, following in their sisters' footprints... and one is new. The smiles on their faces say it all!

Thank you Nirvana and the magical twelve!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Search of a Face + Spirit, Gurgaon, India, 2016


With my dear brother Bhaskar we will visit this young woman in a week or so, and photograph her once again. She transcends her reality, and truly is the face of the divine for me. While she words day to day separating plastic from metal from glass from fabric, her beauty is without compare.

Website

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Young Student + Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India, 2010


This is the look of self-determination which pushes the work forward ever so gently. Given the opportunity, she and her friends in the villages devour the education placed in front of them. For those of us involved in the two schools of Rajasthan, I present her portrait for your review. 

She knows that no longer will she be denied an education. She knows that no longer will limitations be set for her. She knows that her path is just that, her path. She is aware of the world around her, for she can read and write. She no longer needs a man to read for her, no longer needs a man to sign her name for her. She can sign her own name, rather than leave a nameless fingerprint.

For the dozen people involved in these two schools, know that your generosity will once again support her school and the one in the adjacent village.




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Young Student + Seat, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, 2009


Going through negatives is something familiar to me, especially a week before a trip. Next weekend India is on my horizon, and this image reminds me of my beginning in that beautiful country. Thanks to Humana India, this beautiful child attended a school in her village and was photographed here in her neighbor's courtyard.

There is something magical about the images from a decade ago, a bit of nostalgia mixed with the evolution of the photography. The work has come full circle, and now incorporates street photography once again. My hope is that we can visit the original dozen villages near Virat Nagar this year, and perhaps make the connections necessary to open the schools once again.

Presently we have two schools in this area thanks to Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team, while originally more than a dozen schools existed with Humana India. Let's hope that we can locate the original villages, and that the communities will be receptive to the education of their girls once again.


Note: This image was made with a Contax G2/90 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Man + Smoke, Rajasthan, India, 2009


As my trip to India nears the temptation to view older images is great, both to remember the past and to look forward to the future. Looking back gives me perspective, a reminder of how my work began. Now and then a frame comes into view, perhaps one which needs to be enlarged.

While the formal portratis get my attention most of the time, certain spontaneous 'snapshots' slip in once in a while. This is the first time my eyes have seen this exposure since it was made over eight years ago. It must have been made as we were leaving the village, for the sun had set.

For those of us supporting two schools in Rajasthan, this image was made in one of the two villages. In a little more than a week we will be visiting this village and perhaps even seeing this man once again. The men in the village are a kind group, and have fun with me in between the photography of the students. This is one such moment, for all like to be photographed!

I look forward to India next weekend, and to walking around with a point-and-shoot camera for such portraits. 


Website

Note: This image was made with a Contax G2, on negative color film.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Teacher + Students, Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India


The effect which Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team produce can be seen in this portrait of a teacher in front of her smiling students. Here she sits in her classroom, surrounded by the admiration of her students. We can see the love and joy on the students faces, as they enjoy the credit their teacher deserves.

Website

Note: Image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cami + Sky, El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California, 2016


Usually when returning from a long trip the camera lays dormant, until the next trip. After Cuba last year the chance to visit southern California once again presented itself and a casting call was put forth. This young woman thankfully answered and a most magical session at El Mirage was the result.

We met in front of her apartment and drove out to this familiar space one afternoon. One of her beautiful friends came along, and did more than her part to make the session that much more fulfilling. Came for her part brought the clothing she shared with me through messages previously.

She was more than prepared and performed in front of the lens as if she was performing at a grand stage. She gave it her all and we were blessed with a gorgeous day at El Mirage. She was able to change a few times and we moved around a bit to change up the backdrop as well. Even though the surface was very hard, she repeated the jump a few times for this frame.

I do hope that later this year we will meet up again, and continue our magical collaboration.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Young Girl + House, Crimea, Cuba, 2015


This small village is quite special to me ever since we made a turn from the highway three years ago. We were on our way back from the countryside and spotted nothing on the highway itself. Then my instinct told me to ask Alejandro to make that turn, and everything followed from that fortunate chance.

We made a photograph of a farmer next to his cart, and then purchased some avocado and bananas. He was a gentle man, and invited us to drive to his village a mile or so up the road. Following his lead is what led us to this row of houses.

While we were there to photograph some of the younger residents, this young woman caught our attention one afternoon. She was a cousin to some of the girls, and was only visiting for the summer from the east. This it seemed was our only chance to make her portrait so we asked. She was very shy in the beginning, even though she watched the entire time and seemed very content with the photography of her friends and cousins.

So we asked again, and with the cajoling of her friends she stepped in front of the lens. First we photographed her with her hair up, then she let her hair down for this portrait. She was a natural in front of the camera, truly magnificent.

I hope to visit her village this year of course, and hand her this portrait.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/100 mm combination.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Student and Teacher, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2015


When she heard that we would photograph her along with her teacher, she was simply ecstatic. She loves to be photographed period, but when she knew that she'd have the chance to do so with her favorite instructor, she was almost overwhelmed.

She acted differently, in the sweetest of ways. She loved every minute of it, as she soaked up the instructions alongside the sweet attention. For her part, the teacher was exemplary for she knew how important this was for her student. Rather than focusing the spotlight onto her, she gently guided her student along and allowed us to photograph them together for the majority of the time.

It was an honor to have been there for this moment, and to have been asked by her instructor to be included in our work after our work became known to her. To ask is one thing, but to be asked is another thing entirely. I look forward to the possibility of another session this summer, and to the surprises that Cuba has to offer always!


Website


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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ballerina + Ocean, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2015


From the first moment we laid eyes on her we just knew that she would fit right in. We were looking for dancers to photograph alongside our main dancer, and especially dancers with similar features and personalities. Our hopes were answered with this young spirit.

We were standing in front of the school when we noticed her practicing with her friends prior to class. She was leading the dance with such passion, truly remarkable. We decided to approach her mother and were greeted with both warmth and confidence. They immediately agreed to be included in our work, and we made arrangements to do so.

That was four years ago, and now she is part of the family. We pick them up early in the morning, at least 90 minutes before sunrise... and they are always ready. What they sacrifice for the sake of these images inspires me immensely, and to see her and the others have a good time in the ocean after our photography fills me with joy. 

When she receives her photographs, and usually the number is in the hundreds, she looks through them one by one. She usually arranges the photographs in the albums as she would like them seen, and always leaves the albums next to the television for all to see. She is in love with dance and photography, and I am beyond blessed to be her photographic documentarian.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Fuji GA645i.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Migrant Child, Delhi, India, 2016


A few years ago this young girl and her community were introduced to me through Humana India. They moved to this part of the country in search of a better life, yet live in unimaginable filth and squalor. Their homes are made of fabric, and they lack running water. The people use the area behind the alley for a bathroom, and cook their children's food right in front of their homes, facing the garbage and passing traffic

Humana India has done a wonderful job for the community, and is involved in a major community project. They have built a shelter in the midst of the population for those unable to find a place to sleep, and help the community with work training as well as the paperwork necessary for migrants to attain their rights as citizens of a new region. The children attend classes just like the adults do, and are under the care of motivated individuals from the foundation.

My dear brother Jayanta has dedicated himself to this work, and does so with humility and respect. Though the funding for his project is in question year after year, he finds motivation to continue regardless. I have the highest respect for this incredible man, and hope to see him next month under that freeway.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Model + Wall, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2016

Model + Wall, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2016

We met this young woman at Gysleda's school for modeling, and invited her to be photographed one day. She and her father were very generous, allowing us to have a conversation prior to our session and confirm the clothing, theme and so on. 

Unfortunately the weather was less cooperative, cloudy the entire time. She was more than understanding however, and we had a bit of fun with the digital camera nonetheless. She wore the stylings of Yudel for a few images, including this one.

Her father and Alejandro had a good time talking while we made some images, and all of us returned home looking forward to another day. My hope is that this year she will still be at the school and that we can have another chance to make truly magnificent images for her and her family.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.