Thursday, December 20, 2012

Girl and Bench, Nirvanavan Foundation, Near Alwar, Rajasthan, India, November 1, 2009

We had just finished photographing in direct sunlight and decided to produce a session in the shade.  The village allowed us to walk around as we desired. We went from home to home looking for a perfect spot, and found the one above.

The sun was high above us, but a little behind the roof of this small room. A narrow path ran left to right of this space, with a natural fence marking the boundary behind us. One person, sometimes two, held a reflector behind me and to the right. The children took turns sitting on the ledge for a few exposures, then jumped down.

I photographed this young girl earlier in the sun, a dozen or so meters away from this spot. She was magnificent and stood strong in spite of the strong sunlight. When we finished and began walking around looking for a spot, to my extreme delight she followed us. As people talked I continued to look for her and she never disappointed me, always walking closely with the most curious, serene eyes.

She never spoke a word, never made a sound. When asked to sit for her portrait she did so with a most delicate grace. To describe my happiness when such a precious spirit allows me to document her is nearly impossible. I am always speechless when the answer is 'yes,' and always grateful. Perhaps this can be attributed to my present surroundings when such a portrait of a child by a stranger is almost impossible; perhaps it's the idea of my lens being the conduit through which she expresses her thoughts to a larger audience.

Regardless, I am speechless each time I am allowed to photograph such a girl. This reaction never ceases to be solicited under such circumstances, even after so many years and thousands of people. I made this portrait over four years ago and still remember it as if it happened yesterday. I remember the scene, the people, the house and the courtyard to the right with the pile of grass stacked high.

The good people of Nirvanavan Foundation are doing incredible work in this and other villages in the area. They have produced a school of exquisite quality and have enrolled hundreds of children from the surrounding villages in their program. They are a selfless bunch, and continue to inspire me.

To learn more about this beautiful foundation and its good works, you may follow the website listed below as well as my own website, which has a gallery dedicated to it.
Halim Ina Photography
Nirvanavan Foundation

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