Sunday, September 25, 2016

Three Women, Alwar, Rajasthan, India, November 18, 2008

So who are the women who have endured the world of human trafficking? Where are the faces behind the numbers and charts?

These three women live within the Kanjar Community, and have witnessed with their own eyes the world of the sex trade. This has been the reality within which they have had to live, and into which their labor has been forced.

So who are the women who have endured the world of human trafficking? Where are the faces behind the numbers and charts?

These three women live within the Kanjar Community, and have witnessed with their own eyes the world of the sex trade. This has been the reality within which they have had to live, and into which their labor has been forced.

They stood for their portraits 8 years ago so that perhaps their daughters would have a better chance, so that perhaps the world would wake up. Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team at Nirvanavan Foundation are doing their absolute best to honor these women, and their daughters.

Jesse Bach and Elana are also doing their best here in Northeast Ohio, where countless women also share this most unfortunate of stories. Let's support them in their quest for human rights and justice.


Note: These portraits were made with a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Student to Teacher, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, 2014

For the contributors to the two schools located near Virat Nagar, her portrait is being shared. Just this past week we achieved funding of these two schools thanks to a dozen who had come forward to do so. This young woman lives in the village just funded by our new team, congratulations to all involved!

This young woman used to be a student in one of the schools, while her aunt was the teacher. She went on to finish her secondary training and has now become our sewing instructor.

She has truly grown up into an incredible, young woman. When she was younger she was extremely shy, although always happy to be photographed. Now she is able to stand her ground, and carry conversations at length with foreigners and people from the foundation. She presents at first with a tough look, and then at a millisecond her smile appears... and a smile without comparison.

When we left last year she told me that she would like to open a sewing class in the village of her future husband. This made me immensely proud, for she has gone from student to teacher to activist!

We will support her in this endeavor, and in her future one as well.


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

Cousins + Me, Virat Nagar, Rajasthan, India, 2016

This week we achieved something on a grassroots level that I thought was impossible, after having tried for so long. A simple post about supporting a single school turned into annual support for that school. With this achievement, we now have two schools near this town fully supported. This gives me further inspiration to move forward with our third school, this one a bit further and quite a bit larger. I am thankful to all of the contributors, and share this image of me and two cousins for your review.

The young girl to my right is our sewing instructor, while the young girl to my left is the daughter of our school's teacher. They wanted to dress up and make some photographs at the end of our session on this afternoon, and looked so beautiful. They have truly grown up since our first days together over ten years ago, and have made me incredibly proud.

Congratulations to the incredible dozen for making these two schools happen!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3 by my friend Amanpreet Singh.

Ramón Perez Pereira, Artista de la Plástica, Havana, Cuba, 2016

This summer on the island was a little different, as we spent some time outside of photography. While assisting one day on an avenue, an artist's work caught my attention. He was very sweet, and talked at length with me about his work.

While the subject matter was sublime, the paper onto which it was printed had an incredible story. It was completely made by the artist and, as with this example, the telephone book was used in the paper's making. One could see the names of people, as well as their phone numbers.

According to the artist, the hand, both in form and in color, represented the idea of revolution. When speaking about his work, Ramón always had a smile on his face. The man was sincerely proud of his efforts, and made an impression on me.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Memories of Patricia, Styling by Yudel, Havana, Cuba, 2015

Along with the art posted earlier, a memory from last year is presented. Two artists are represented in this image, the model and the man responsible for the fabrics worn. We are fortunate enough to have the fabulous Yudel as the stylist, and Patricia as the talent to bring the fabrics to life.

While most of the images previously posted from these sessions are serious, I wanted to show how fun the sessions truly are, especially when this young model comes along.


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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Model + Home in Countryside, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2016

Ever since we collaborated last summer we remained in contact, and planned on working together this summer as well. So when we arrived in July we called immediately, and she was ready to create. This was even more visible when we were granted the clothing line designed by the magnificent Yudel R. Contreras Garcia. Rachel Hortensia Lopez Thompson took to the clothes like she owned them. She is a chameleon and produces incredible expressions regardless of location, or strength of sunlight. When the sun was too strong, she put her sunglasses on and continued with the session. We were fortunate to have found this location thanks to Alejandro Godinez Ramos. This happened to be his son's neighborhood, and since we began using it last summer he has become quite the celebrity in town, waving to the residents as we drive by with the models in the car. His family jokes with him about the work with me, jabbing him in the ribs with jokes regarding the hardships he faces. Little do they know how difficult the work is truly, as he wakes up well before 4:30 a.m. to pick the young models up from their homes in the city, then passing by my place to pick me up as well. I both admire and respect this man, and hope we continue this work alongside Rachel and Yudel next summer!
Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100III.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Young Bedouin + Birds, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2008

Does she still live in Lebanon? Had she moved back to Syria since this portrait was made? How does she look? Does her family still live as migrants? Are they now considered refugees?

These are some of the questions in mind as plans are made to visit Lebanon very soon. Certainly everything has changed in the region, and the possibility of making portraits once again is less than slim. This time around the visit is about my immediate family, while of course keeping in mind my photographic family.

I will visit her camp, and hope to see her and her sisters as well. At least we will reunite, and plan for perhaps next year when we hope the region will be free from the present tragedies.

She and her sisters are on my mind today, and will be until we see each other this Fall.


Note: This image was made with a Canon G10.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Young Syrian + Sky, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2008

Following yesterday's posts is yet another young girl from the same camp. This was where it all began for me, and will continue to be a part of my photography. LIfe has changed dramatically for the Syrians living in Lebanon certainly, as they have tragically lost the homes in Syria to which they used to return in between seasons.

These images are from more innocent times, when Syria and Lebanon were stable, as stable as recent memory could remember of course. These families lived in the Bekaa Valley and worked odd jobs, earning more than they could have earned back in Syria.

I used to drive my uncle's car to their camp on my own, and walk around the camp without question. They have known me for almost two decades now, well before this young girl was born. Often times we had dinner together, and always had tea. They are as generous as any in my life, and will always be remembered as the ones who had first accepted me as a photographer.


Note: This image was made with a Canon G10.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Young Boy, Small Village, Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2016

Earlier this year we had the honor of being accepted once again by the Muslim community living near this beautiful city. Without more than a day's notice while near the city we called our contacts from the previous year, and they invited us immediately to their village.

The next few days were spent photographing the schools in these villages. At first communication was easy thanks to my driver from Delhi. However when the time came for him to head back, it became my first time in India when I was on my own, without translator.

While this was somewhat intimidating, at such a distance from the capital and on my own in an environment at times hostile to the thought of photography, there was a calm feeling as well. My hosts were also perhaps a bit nervous, for they were worried about me.

However when it came time to head out this morning for the photography, it was actually quite simple. We used sign language to set the time and decided the evening before which school to visit. We decided to visit the Islamic school in the village first, then the government school.

The Islamic school was very close to the house, a five minute walk. When we arrived the men were preparing to pray, while students were entering the mosque. All of them looked at me in a surprised way, as I was an unknown man entering a mosque with a camera. What made this all possible was my host family, for they were both the religious leaders in the area and also have their son as the political leader of the region.

Nobody asked questions as we arranged to photograph the girls first, and then the boys. We decided to walk outside of the grounds of the mosque in order to make it easier on everyone. All of the students followed us after a few minutes, giving us a bit of time to get ready.

We were going to begin with the girls when I noticed this young boy. His eyes caught my attention immediately, and I decided to photograph him first before the sunlight became too bright for him. We used Ilford Delta 400 film for this portrait, so as to take advantage of the low level of light.

An entire roll of film was exposed, and this was the last one on the roll. He was so beautiful, so calm. Instead of the usual, white head covering… he had a colored piece which was perfect. His shirt was so elegant, making this portrait one of my favorite from my time in India this year.


Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Ilford Delta 400 film, scanned through the negative sleeves for review only.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mariel on Film, El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California, 2015

The two together are incomparable, Mariel and film. This was my second time with her, and both times on film. She presented on both occasions perfectly prepared, with the most exquisite wardrobe. She truly understands my approach, and embraces the other girls and women in my portfolio.

She is of course an accomplished model and actor, and wants those in my work to understand that she is a sister to them. She certainly is and brings only her best to our sessions. Our travel to and from this location is always filled with wonderful conversations, which affects in the most positive manner the photography.

We communicate beautifully without words while collaborating, and I am always in awe of her talents. In this portrait, which took my breath away, a single tear fell slowly as the shutter was released. It was a precious moment, and one which will always be represented through this photograph.

Only Mariel and I know the reason for the tear of course, but rest assured that the reason is a beautiful one… born from happenstance.

In less than two weeks we will hopefully be at El Mirage, and will once again document her spirit on medium format film!


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