Friday, October 2, 2009

Student, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, 2008

Every year we arrive at her school on a roof of a small building and the timing for the sun is less than ideal. Two years in a row her school is the second school of the day to be photographed, putting her and her classmates at a disadvantage in this respect.

We arrive today and it's very much the same as the previous two years. The roof proves a dangerous place to make portraits with so many children walking around. They let me walk around the houses and look for a better place. I walk around for about fifteen minutes while all smile and giggle, the older folks included. I even sit with six or so men for a minute to take a break lacking a single word in common but smiling nonetheless.

I get up and start walking back to find one house with the perfect white wall, with a platform for the girls to stand upon and a depression for me to rest my camera. Again, without a single word in common the owners of the house agree to the photography with great, broad smiles. Little do they know that about thirty or so girls are about to collect at their doorstep.

I signal for everyone to come down as it happens that the school is next door. They all come down and we make wonderful portraits, with everyone from the village watching rather than on the roof in an exclusive format.

After the girls from the school are photographed, a few girls seem to want their portraits made but are too shy to ask. They stand to the side waiting for someone to ask. Needless to say, I ask and they jump for the chance.

The one above is one such example. The school is only able to provide thirty girls from this village a chance to learn. So this little girl is excluded from even this experiment in education. She wants to be included and may have to wait her turn until space is available for her next year.

The necklace and bracelet are her way of expressing herself with dignity. She wants to be a girl like any other from around the world and having less does not get in her way. She makes do in the most beautiful way. Her hair is styled and her pose natural.

We finish our session and leave the owners of the house still with broad smiles, especially since their portraits are also made. I will deliver their portraits to them in four weeks.