Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Refugee + Camp, Uttar Pradesh, India, November 23, 2013

On November 23 of last year her portrait was made in a small camp just inside Uttar Pradesh, India. She was then living within a collection of tents just outside of the village proper, driven out of her home months ago by unimaginable violence between two communities. The people of the neighboring village have been kind enough to provide temporary housing as well as the land for them to build more permanent structures. Our host family for the evening before was actually the driving force behind this generosity, and their home was a mere 100 meters or so from her humble tent. 

We arrived early in the morning thinking that the children would be sleeping, but were surprised when almost all of them quickly gathered when hearing of the photography. The presence of our host family enabled us to make portraits of the girls first, quite a feat in light of the fact that this was a most conservative Muslim community. A few men stepped forward to help with the work, and one was exceptionally talented at styling the girls prior to their appearance in front of the lens. 

This young woman's presence is made that much more exceptional in that she was only moment's before unaware of this event. She presents herself here for us to witness the power of her spirit, unfiltered and unadorned. My memory of her is as clear today as it was six or so months ago. By my reaction she was aware of her effect on me, and knew the immensity of her power… yet was sublime in her approach. Her features are of course without equal, few could match her physical beauty regardless of fame or money. In spite of what she has been forced to witness, or perhaps because of such, her expression is one of understanding and kindness. I will always remember this about her, and am grateful for having spent one minute in her presence.


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