Wednesday, April 21, 2010

East African Girl, Church, MACODEF, Kisumu, Kenya, March, 2007

Only ten hours stand between this moment and the negatives from Ethiopia. In the morning and for the first time since my return from East Africa, the images exposed will be in my hands.

Until then, a thought or two about another time in this part of the world.

One fine day, we arrive at a church near a school. The walls of the church are a brilliant white with the sun striking them perfectly. We decide to visit a home until the sun is in the right place. We are received kindly, offered something to drink and watch the girls as they play in the field next to the home.

After an hour or so, people start coming around. We set a small table to the right of the camera and ask the people to stand in line to the left. People are cordial to each other, calm throughout. As more people come by, they take their places in line.

At the end of the session, about six girls remain; she is one of them. Six or so negatives are exposed, one of them displayed above. In all of them, her expression never waivers. At times, the combination of a human face, an emotion and a piece of clothing come together flawlessly; this is one of those times.

After the portrait is made, I turn to the person writing names down and tell him: she is the most perfect child. Looking surprised, he nonetheless smiles in agreement.