Friday, November 23, 2012

Student and Brother, Humana People to People, Banganga, Rajasthan, India, Afternoon of November 15, 2009

Her portrait is the most elusive from her family. While she is most willing to be photographed, her light eyes are unable to work in the sunlight that so accentuates my work. Here she sits with her brother in the field in front of her home, as the sun was setting.

She alone will change my work during my next visit and enable me to work indoors, in the shade of trees and so forth. She will extend the nature of my work, and this excites me incredibly. Her aunt is the teacher of the local Humana People to People school in her village, and the two families together treat me like a son.

Upon every visit both families prepare tea, and then either lunch or dinner. They live right next to each other with the closest neighbor in the invisible distance. They tend to their land without help from anyone else, and are never found sitting, always working actually. This is my fourth year with these families and my experiences with them have been marked by both extremes.

To be clear my time with them has been nothing short of magnificent. They and their neighbors have always welcomed my photography and all of the children have always been prepared. They have allowed the use of their lands, their benches and their sheets as backdrops. They have organized the sessions and made sure that the children listened carefully to our instructions.

The other extreme was marked by one afternoon on my second to last day in this village. Without reason the shutter on my lens seemed to snap, or my mind just seemed to notice the malfunction in the middle of their session. It was my second to last day and I thought that perhaps this malfunction had existed since the first day of this trip. My heart dropped to my feet and I was barely able to continue after changing lenses.

We finished the session, and then arranged to return the following morning even though my plane departed from New Delhi on that same day in the middle of the afternoonI. Even though we were five hours away, we arranged to come back to this village and made new portraits of everyone just in case. They were touched by the gesture as I was touched by their willingness to do so twice in less than 18 hours. I barely slept the night before, heard almost every single sound until sunrise arrived.

As it turned out the lens shutter did malfunction at the very moment that last afternoon, but only at the moment that my ears noticed. So all in all the images turned out nicely, and the pit in my stomach was finally removed several weeks later as the film was being developed.

This village will always serve as a reminder of how fleeting our experiences can be, and how much there is to be thankful for in my life. I am fortunate enough to have met these two families and to announce that their school will reopen next year, along with four other schools, as our collaboration with Humana People to People continues.

For more information regarding the foundation and our collaboration, along with images, one may viist the following websites:

Halim Ina Photography
Humana People to People India