Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pontiac in Cuba, Havana, Cuba, 2016


The hood ornaments from Detroit move eerily along the streets of Cuba, like ghosts from the past. They range from Chief Pontiac to Cadillac's Flying Lady. They are reminders of a complex past, when automakers with arrogance placed certain symbols on the front of their shiny cars, without much thought to the significance.

In Cuba these ornaments take on an additional significance, for the history between the nations has made it so. They sit on top of cars which have existed since before the revolution, and have seen the evolution of that same revolt for over six decades. They have born witness to the exultation as well as the heartbreak.

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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm lens with extension tubes onto Ilford Delta 100 film.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Young Student + Madrasa, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


This past visit to Shamli was filled with hope, and we held onto this as we visited village after village. With the help of our host Imdadullah and the guidance of Nirvana Bodhisattva, we were able to document the students.

Face after face, student after student, they came forward. This was for most their first time in front of a camera. Their expressions touched me deeply, as this was their chance to communicate from someone outside of their community.

She was as strong in front of my lens as any model has ever been. In front of her headmaster's office she stood, with the field behind her school as a backdrop. We hope to introduce a sewing class to her school, and hope to include the older girls from the village.


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sisters + Embrace, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


This year we spent considerable time in this beautiful part of India, and visited many villages thanks to our wonderful host Imdadullah and family. It all began in 2013 when we were invited to document the refugees in the region, and continued through last year when we were asked to take part in an interfaith effort.

These two sisters attend traditional classes in their village's madrasa, and look forward to a fuller curriculum thanks to their headmaster's desire to provide such. This idea has been made possible thanks to the generosity of those on here who responded to my posting a few months ago. We have organized a small group of people, and have begun the process of helping this village achieve its goal.

The girls loved the spontaneous sessions, when they would be called up from the classes below to make photographs on the rooftop of the school. At first holding each other seemed a stretch for them, especially in front of a lens and their friends. After a few days however they took to the closeness and allowed their expressions to flow freely.

These sessions were so popular that the girls allowed me to do my film work without any hesitation, knowing that the fun images were to come next!


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Students + Me, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


It's been two weeks and the memories are still fresh in my mind. This image was made by my brothe Mukesh during our last weekend in Uttar Pradesh, India. We had finished our formal portraits and the girls were having fun with the small camera, expressing themselves alone and with friends. I was walking over to get some film and stopped for a second behind the girls, while Mukesh made this portrait. For those of us involved in these schools, these are two of the students in the new interfaith effort guided by our dear brother Nirvana and Imdadullah.

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Note: This image was made by a Sony RX100M3 by my dear friend Mukesh. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Namely 11 Years Before, Havana, Cuba, 2005


...and this was Hamely's first portrait over a decade ago!!

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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad V System.


Hamely + Ocean, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2016


I wonder how many of us will recognize her now, how many of us know her features. It was over a decade ago that she was sitting in front of her home on the sidewalk as we walked by with our cameras. She was less than four years old then, and her mother permitted us to make her first portrait in the street next to the home.

Since then her portrait has been made every year with the exception of one. Last summer we had the honor of being allowed to take her to the beach, along with the family of course. She absolutely loved it, all three times we did!

She brought a few pieces along and jumped into the water almost immediately. I was so glad to have purchased the hand-held camera a few years ago for just such an occasion, as these images were made in the water with her. She of course was a natural, as she has been in front of my camera for over a decade.

Her home also is located in one of the most visited parts of the city, and she is used to having her photograph made by countless tourists. Almost all of them comment on her hair, and her clear beauty. With the exception of myself and my dear friend Thomas, none however have ever brought photographs to her afterward. It is my honor to have been a part of her life for so many years, and I do hope for many years more!


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Note: This image was made with a Fuji GA645i onto Ilford Delta 100 film.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Students + Bench, Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India, 2017


These are the smiles of the students in one of two schools guided by Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team at Nirvanavan Foundation. For those of us involved in these schools, we share this snapshot from one afternoon in the village. Since 2006 I have visited this very village, and will continue to visit as long as I am able to do so. With the generosity of this incredible circle, the school and these smiles will flourish!

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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Young Student + Madrasa, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


For those of us involved in the effort to establish a school in this region, we present this young girl's portrait. During my three weeks in this region we were able to visit more than a dozen madrasas in order to sense the pulse of the region. Some madrasas had large buildings with many teachers, and some had one room. Hers was of the latter variety, yet had the most passionate headmaster and a wonderful teacher as well.

The single room had three walls made of brick alone, with a metal rooftop. It lacked electricity, and was in the middle of a field just to the side of the road. Yet the classroom was very organized, and all were attentive to the teacher. The students came from two adjacent villages, and a small 'bus' took the majority of the students to the further village. All this was being done with a shoestring budget, and with incredible effort.

While we are working with three villages presently, we hope to include this small madrasa next year and will present this effort to those interested soon!


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Young Student, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


A few months ago two dozen people from Facebook came together to help fund a new school in Uttar Pradesh, and for this group of people we present her portrait. She is a new student in a local madrasa, and her community has expressed a desire to include the government curriculum as well for their children.

With the help of our gracious hosts we have begun the conversations, and have started to move forward as well with respect to the plan. As of this week her school's new teachers are visiting Nirvanavan Foundation for an initial review, while sewing centers will begin in three villages in a few months.

This was her first portrait session with us, being a new student to the madrasa. Her eyes are the most sensitive to light in my experience, yet she was able to stand next to the window for this photograph. There is something about making portraits of young girls new to the camera, something magical about their presence. My hope is that her school will turn a page thanks to the generosity of so many of you, and that her future is as bright as the light coming through the window.


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Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Young Student, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2017


A few months ago two dozen people from Facebook came together to help fund a new school in Uttar Pradesh, and for this group of people we present her portrait. She is a student in a local madrasa, and her community has expressed a desire to include the government curriculum as well for their children. 

With the help of our gracious host we have begun the conversations, and have started to move forward as well with respect to the plan. As of this week her school's new teachers will be visiting Nirvanavan Foundation for initial training, while sewing centers will begin in three villages in a few months.

This was her first portrait session with us, being a new student to the madrasa. Nonetheless she was a true natural and brought her own ideas to the table. In this image she extends her hands and faces the wheat fields adjacent to her school. There is something about making portraits of young girls new to the camera, something magical about their presence. My hope is that her school will turn a page thanks to the generosity of so many of you, and that her future is as bright as the light coming through the window.


Website

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.