Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marked, Prostitute, India, Nirvanavan Foundation, 2008

So she walks up onto the roof of the school for her portrait, in the morning and before her customers arrive. In any case, customers are hard to find with strangers like us around. She has seen me before and has decided to allow us her picture.

The sun is bright and she stands in front of a white wall. We make maybe four negatives and she is flawless for all of them. While making the portraits, my eyes are drawn to a small mark on the inside of her right arm. The good people of the foundation explain to me that sometimes this tattoo is requested by the husband, a sign of his presence in her life.

Since I lack the knowledge to understand Hindi, this will be left for others to ascertain as true or false. Regardless of the person for whom this tattoo is meant, she stands independent, strong and willing to show herself in a society based on prostitution, based on keeping one's head low and hidden.

She is a hero, both to me and to her younger sisters.