Friday, July 30, 2010

Kiara, Model, Sister, Daughter, Cleveland, Ohio, States, July, 2010

We meet through ModelMayhem a year or so ago and collaborate earlier this month.

Unlike many others, she and her representative contact me consistently regarding details throughout the preparatory process. We discuss the need for natural light and darker outfits. She comes to the studio prepared beautifully and with her two sisters as well.

We work for more than an hour, photographing the entire family as well. All are kind and generous to me and my portfolio, showing interest in being included alongside the women from all over the world. They change clothing when asked and allow me to make portraits while the sun strikes their skin boldly.

The idea behind her portrait is simple, to include faces from the States alongside those from Africa and Asia for example. It never ceases to amaze me when women from other parts of the world view faces from the States and are surprised for various reasons.

It seems to me that the media has sculpted a view of the West that excludes features such as those in my portfolio, that excludes darker skin and features. With the inclusion of Kiara in my portfolio, my hope is that other women in my portfolio can better understand the women in the States and can see even more clearly the fact that they are sisters.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Girl, Student, Humana People to People, Banganga, Rajasthan, India, November, 2009

This image is made in the morning on my last day of photography, as has been traditional for the last three years in this village. The students and teacher always show their desire to be photographed by being ready as the sun rises, even though the temperature is usually cold enough to trace the anxious breathing of the children.

She has been there from the beginning, from the very first year.

In her village, the teacher and her sister always show me their hospitality equally. As one prepares tea, so does the other. As one prepares dinner, the other prepares dinner. They are neighbors and have eight children between them. As one watches me eat my dinner, the other does the same watching me eat the dinner that she has prepared for me.

As always, the families serve the guests, allow them to eat first and then sit down to eat their meals.

In her village, all the students have uniforms, unlike the other schools. Their education is provided for by Humana People to People India, an education that at this time has ceased to exist due to a lack in funding.

During our session this morning however, she shines like few can do. She is photographed from the left, from the right, from directly in front. She is photographed with one hand on her hips, with two hands on her hips.

In every single exposure, she is without equal and shows me so. There are few that can do such as consistently as this young girl. Should she be the only reason to visit India, she would be reason enough for me to purchase the next ticket.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Christi, Model, Musician, Daughter, Cleveland, Ohio, United States, June 17, 2010

We meet in a park near her home about six in the evening under a beautiful sky. We talk for a few minutes and make plans for the wardrobe and sequence of photography.

Her enthusiasm is genuine, her curiosity true.

Before our session, we exchange a few messages and in one of them she shares her concern of disappointing me. My answer to her is simple: the fact that she feels it within herself to share such a concern means that she cannot possibly disappoint me.

This turns out to be more than true. We work first with one outfit, then move to another seamlessly. During one of these changes, I ask about her boyfriend and she tells me that he lives nearby, offering to call him immediately.

She does so and he arrives a few minutes later, turning the session into a wonderful experience. The sight of this gentle man makes her smile even more so. He changes into an outfit and we make his portrait as well. He does so without effort, with a kindness that people in my portfolio have shown me year after year.

He leaves after perhaps thirty minutes of photography and we finish our session about one hour after his departure. Instead of packing her stuff and leaving immediately, she lingers on sweetly to talk for a little bit. This shows me once again her genuine nature, her most thoughtful curiosity.

Her portrait sits alongside the Mursi from Ethiopia and the ballet dancers from Cuba. She is a sister to them all and walks seamlessly between all of them.