Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Girl, Student, Humana People to People, Chota Village, Rajasthan, India, November 15, 2008

On the seventh roll of film and with the seventh exposure her portrait was made in the courtyard of her teacher. It was cloudy earlier but the sun appeared just in time for a short session. A wall to her right was low enough to allow the light in but tall enough for the sake of privacy. She has been included in my work since the first year and has come to know me quite well. She was once shy but has now gained a level of confidence displayed in the image above.

I have always enjoyed working in her village, it's both peaceful and engaging. The teacher welcomes us as family and has prepared many meals for us, always a bit hot for me but nonetheless very tasty. As long as plenty of water is available, I continue to eat and they continue to laugh. In my last recent correspondences with the good people of Humana People to People India, I have been informed that the same teacher would like to continue with this work and that classes will be held in this same courtyard.

When photographing the girls, the only sound is the sound of joy heard through their voices. Although the commotion can at times overwhelm me, it is both natural and expected under the circumstances. My only concern usually is to include all of the girls before the light becomes less than ideal. At a lower angle girls with deep facial features are selected... and when the sun reaches a higher angle shallower features are selected thus preventing deeper shadows under the eyes and chin.

This past weekend the future of her school was secured for at least one year, and now any funds generated from this point forward will go towards securing the following year. Humana People to People India, while promoting the education of girls in this village, does much more. In this same house they have facilitated the installation of a solar station. Families from the village will come to collect solar lanterns just before sunset in order to use at home, in exchange for a nominal fee supporting the family hosting the station. The next morning they return the lanterns to be recharged. It really is an incredibly powerful scene, one that has moved me on several occasions.

In addition to the solar stations, the foundation works with farmers to discuss pertinent, new technologies and provides a forum for a collective discussion. In another program women collectively apply their financial strengths to provide loans between the group and individuals within the group in order to promote small businesses.

The image made above, rather than existing in a vacuum, is part of a larger movement and one for which I will continue to show my support.

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Halim Ina Photography