Saturday, April 28, 2012

Master Joe, Willoughby School of Gung Fu, Early in the Morning, April 28, 2012

Earlier this morning this image was made in collaboration with Master Joe and Willoughby School of Gung Fu. This is the second in a series of collaborations and one that will hopefully continue through the years. In the image above he is complimented by his incredibly talented son, Vincent.

The beginning of our session is spent making portraits of certain movements, positions. For my sake they move from one position to another slowly and with sufficient space to allow me to catch up with them. They are an incredibly dedicated team. After an hour or so, we ask Anna to step in front of the lens and she does so as in our last session, with grace and confidence.

I enjoyed our first collaboration and the second collaboration even more so. Anna by now understands me, my work and my vision for her. She moves from one pose to another freely and looks at the camera with familiarity and courtesy. Most of her images today were made on film, and will be shared with her in the near future. If she is reading this blog entry, she will learn that my vision for her extends for as long as photography is my life.

In the second half of the session, Master Joe and Vincent present themselves in a more spontaneous manner and in a more physical manner. The tripod is set aside and images are made of them in action, as much as can be done by an inexperienced photographer in this genre. I do look forward to our next session and the possibilities inherent in a long photographic relationship.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Student & Uniform, Humana People to People India, November 13, 2009, Banganga, Rajasthan, India,

The meaning behind the present search for funding sits in front of us in her school uniform. Her school as well as nine other schools are the subjects of my latest blog entries. We aim to help fund these schools and in turn provide an opportunity for her and others like her to attend classes. What some might take for granted she watches from a distance.

Humana People to People India has offered to reopen the schools on our behalf should we be able to find the funding. A small amount would reopen her school, and a relatively larger amount would fund all ten schools. For the price of one year's tuition in a private university, or $30,000, all ten schools can reopen and educate almost 400 girls in Rajasthan. This is surely an important task and one deserving of our devotion.

Sure, they are someone else's daughters, some other nation's responsibility.

However, when parents are unable to personally fund such a project and when a nation turns a blind eye to its citizens, it's an opportunity for those from the outside able to do so to do so. She comes from a small village called Banganga, as beautiful as any heaven described by any faith. Fields as far as the eye can see produce wonderful food, and the skies during many months are as clear as the bluest of skies.

Children play in the fields without worry, and families are extremely close to one another. I have been welcomed into this village like a brother, and have had many dinners and countless cups of tea as a result of their deep hospitality.

Join me and these girls should you be able to do so. You may view more images and contact me through the newly designed website courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Then a Girl, Now a Woman, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November 15, 2009

She remains a mystery to me, here with her new family and six years ago as a new face in my work from a collaboration with Humana People to People India. In her first portraits the smile is missing, and in her later portraits the smile is ever-present. Since her days in the Girls Bridge School of Humana People to People India, she has married and gone on to a life with her new family.

Is she holding her own child or is she smiling at my curiosity while holding someone else's child? Are they both laughing at my lack of knowledge, albeit in a sweet manner? I of course am clueless especially in light  of my missing translator, and play along while making pictures for them. It seems the most natural thing for me to do.

She attended the school for perhaps three years until it was forced to close. She at least learned to read and to write, and to see one of her own friends become a teacher. She has seen another way and will perhaps pass this onto her children. Such is the power of education, it can be transferred from one generation to another without limitations, with little need for books or a classroom. Once it is introduced into a population, the possibilities are endless.

We are hoping to help fund the school in her village once again, and look to you for support. All ten schools may be funded for less than one year's enrollment in a private university in the States. While this is a considerable amount here and elsewhere, four hundred girls will be introduced to learning in a classroom for this amount in Rajasthan.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Girl Sitting in the Back Row, Sample Image, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November 17, 2009

Made with the instant camera, this is a portrait of a student from the same village as in the last post. As a matter of fact she is sitting in the back row trying to hide while holding up a child. The sun has just begun to show itself and she is one of the first to be photographed. A few of the older students stepped up first and she is the first of the younger girls to show herself to the camera.

The landscape behind her surrounds her village. Her clothes are lovingly attended to over they years, handed down from previous generations. Evidence of this love can be seen in the stitching and the pride in her face. This is how she choose to present herself to us.

This image was made perhaps around 8:00 a.m. on this beautiful morning, with blue skies all around. We hope to help her school reopen and to see her later this year attending classes.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

Girls, Students, Humana People to People India, Early in the Morning, November 17, 2009

In the previous post a story is shared regarding an elderly man from this village. The remote location of this village coupled with a certain attitude towards the education of girls in this area has made it quite difficult for the girls to attend school in the past. With the elderly man's permission and understanding these girls have had the experience of a school inside of their own village through the good efforts of Humana People to People India.

Since this image was made the school was forced to close due to a lack of funding. Humana People to People is doing wonderful work in this village as well as in dozens of villages across the countryside in Rajasthan, India. Their work has expanded to various other regions of India and encompasses solar energy projects, micro loan initiatives, farming clubs and so forth. Education is one aspect of their approach, especially the education of girls traditionally held back from going to school.

So we find ourselves once again searching for ways to fund this school and nine others like it. These girls are like girls from all over the world. They giggle for the same reasons, they laugh in the same pitch and long for a chance to become educated. Like economists all over the world, they understand the importance of this most immediate need and will pass on their education to their daughters and sons.

Just before this image we worked for perhaps two hours making portraits of each and every single girl enrolled in the school. They met me in the morning before the sun came up, shivering in the coolness of the morning. The clothes in which they are dressed at this moment are different than the clothes they chose to be photographed in earlier. They know my preference for simpler and darker clothes and blessed me with this single wish. They know my aesthetic limitations and forgive me for such.

I adore these young girls, as I adore spirits persevering when circumstances are most difficult. We will find support for their school quite soon. These are the smiles that await me later this year, perhaps early next year, when I visit them while attending class in their village.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Man and Horse, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November 17, 2009

Every session presents unforeseen opportunities. While we rest a bit after our early morning session, this man approaches on his horse. With a gesture he asks for his portrait to be made. He maneuvers with ease, creates a few poses and then moves along quietly. Just to his left gather the girls for a short class.

Only with his permission can the school in the village succeed. Humana People to People can present their best case, but it is up to this man and his male colleagues to allow their girls access to education. While boys in this village have access to government schools, the girls in this village fall outside of this most basic of educational platforms.

With this man and others like him, girls now have the chance to attend classes. The excitement during my visit is a testament to their exuberance. They are up before the sun rises in anticipation for our session, and come dressed in the most beautiful colors. They stand shivering due to the early morning chill, yet have smiles all over their faces. This is possible because the elders of the village have given their permission for our session, and have fostered an environment in which the girls may be themselves.

I am proud to know this man, and to have made his portrait. His single spirit cancels thousands unlike him, and will allow the light to burn bright in dozens of girls in his village. His is the face of change.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography

Friday, April 6, 2012

Solar Light Program, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, November 29, 2009

As evening approaches most villages disappear from my view. With the exception of a fire here and there, nothing disrupts the pure darkness an hour or so after the sun sets. We usually end our work a little bit beforehand so as to make easier our drive back to town.

With this and more in mind, Humana People to People in cooperation with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) has initiated a bold program. According to their annual report:

India has an urgent need for development and promotion of renewable energy solutions to it’s growing demand for electric power, and a need of providing energy services to large numbers of households, which are deprived of adequate electricity supply. Thus, Humana People to People India has joined hands with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), in 2008 in the implementation of TERI’s “Lighting a Billion Lives” (LaBL) campaign, with installation of 18 community based solar charging stations in two districts in Rajasthan. 

Self Help Group (SHG) members, trained as entrepreneurs to run the solar charging stations, play a key role as service providers and direct partners in the project. The solar charging station entrepreneurs rent solar lanterns and charge 2-3 Rs. per lantern from the users. The women entrepreneurs maintain log book of the users and the income they are generating every day by renting out the solar lanterns. The 300 Women’s Self Help Groups form an important network in the community as an organized group of beneficiaries and promoters of the solar energy lanterns. Through environment education programs in local schools and colleges the project mobilizes the young generation to take actions in order to protect the environment, promote clean energy and take qualified decisions about energy consumption. 

My experience on this day gives me a taste of this specific project. Women and men come by to pick up their solar lanterns which have been changed since last evening's use. They allow themselves to be photographed during this process with much pride. In the past they would be limited by the setting sun, but now find their day extended with the aid of the lanterns.

In these very villages are the schools we are attempting to support. Humana People to People India does more than open schools, they engage the entire community through various programs. Their association with 'Lighting a Billion Lives' campaign is just one example.

For more of my work, please visit the newly designed website below, courtesy of Patrick Luu.

Halim Ina Photography