Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fatouma, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Summer, 2005

Just today sixty rolls of 400 ASA film is ordered from New York for the upcoming Cuban trip.

On my mind during the order is the portrait of Fatouma above. It has been over six years since both this image and my use of anything but slower film. For this trip to Cuba, it is my intention to make images both in direct sunlight and in subdued light.

Since Fatouma's portrait six years ago, many visits to her home have been made and her portrait repeated. This first image is perhaps considered the easiest one for me of her, for she was a stranger to me then. Ironically as she has gotten to know me she has become a bit more shy.

Usually she allows herself to be photographed on the first day, perhaps in response to the pictures handed out and to the excitement of the other children. Then upon subsequent trips during the same two week visit, she becomes withdrawn in the sweetest of ways and goes about her chores which range from gathering water to tending to the sheep to washing clothes.

To see her tending to a dozen or so animals, all the while she is less than half of one animal's weight, is incredibly fascinating. She lacks fear and approaches each task without trepidation. She is a most confident young girl and asserts herself in response to either girls or boys. On my last trip, she denied me her portrait in the tradition of girls from the area growing up.

She however lives in my memory through the portrait above. I will still visit her as long as she will allow it. Perhaps one day I will photograph her daughter, at least until I am denied her portrait as well.

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Halim Ina Photography