Thursday, January 30, 2014

Refugee + Shawl, Camp, Uttar Pradesh, India, December 1, 2013

The faces were as endless as the stories in the refugee camps, this being just one example. This was my last day in Uttar Pradesh, and this was the last village visited as well. Like other portraits recently posted, she and her friends have lost their homes due to the most recent violence in this region of India, violence that has up to this point failed to cease.

Depending on whom you speak with, the story is different. What is painfully consistent is that the children always seem to bear the brunt of the consequences. They had nothing to do with the initiation of the fighting and have very little to do with the final outcome. 

Being a young person is one very difficult thing in this environment, being a young girl is yet another circumstance altogether. The violence perpetrated takes on another tone, and these incredible girls stand in front of the lens after experiencing something most of us will never feel. On so many levels I am unable to process their hardships, and hope that the portraits made will be of service to them and to their communities.

We photographed the girls at the end of the afternoon, when the light was just perfect. All of us gathered in a paved spot just next to the main road, in the middle of the camp. There was a field just behind them, and tents to the right and left of the path leading to it. The platform was above the main dirt paths, and the girls sat in a large group to my right and just behind me on the paved surface.

The desire to be photographed, to take part in the process, was unmistakable. How many times has someone visited their camp and made it a point to document their stories? When was the last time they were rightfully the center of attention?

If only they knew how much longer I wanted to stay, how many times I would have photographed each and every single one of them… like the young Cubans in my portfolio!

What makes them that much more incredible is that for all of their giving they receive a little less than five minutes in front of the lens. They sit for an hour or more just for this chance, and walk away without making me feel that more was needed. This never ceases to 'get me' and I am deeply humbled by each and every one of them.

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Note: This portrait was made with a Sony RX100M2, hand-held and edited for size and contrast only.