Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baba, New Delhi, 2006

This man is left with another family by his own when he is five years old, in order to find a home for him and to provide an occupation. He serves his host family and becomes an integral part of it through his seventy years of service. As the head of the family tells me over dinner one night, 'Baba used to serve the family and now the family serves him.'

His name is Baba, meaning 'father.' He is treated as such and much more.

When photographing at a school in New Delhi, my eyes catch this most quiet man opening and closing the gate to the school, helping the teachers with their tasks now and then, giving the school an air of tradition. When asked to be photographed, he follows me without question to the street outside of the school. We find a white wall and then make his portrait as the sun strikes his face.

He has just met me and yet, in public and on the street, allows himself to be photographed without a single hint of discomfort, putting me at ease.

Two families watch as the portrait is made and then volunteer to have their portraits made. One portrait usually leads to another, such is the social nature of the work.