Monday, September 29, 2014

The Image of Perfection + Mehndi, Banganga, Rajasthan, India, December of 2013



So here she is six weeks before the video below. When we arrived to visit the family for the first time, she was lying on a bench under the family tree, just behind me in the video. She barely moved, and her sisters and cousins all sat around her for support. The families nonetheless were happy to see us and wanted the photography to continue, so we did.
Just as we finished I looked her way and caught her smile. I asked her family for permission to ask for her portrait, and she fearlessly offered herself to the camera. The strength with which she held herself up for the sake of the image was deeply moving, and clear to all watching the process. Then halfway through the roll she put her hand over her mouth, kneeled to the ground and expelled a soft sigh. She was clearly in severe pain and walked back gently to the bench… all the while making sure that I was fine by sharing a smile with me.
This was the image made immediately before the reaction described above. I admire and adore her beyond words, and am happy that Humana People to People India has decided to reopen the school in her village. As a matter of fact, the school is run by her aunt, the older woman who makes an appearance in the video below. She is the inspiration behind my work in her village, and I am proud to have been given the chance to be of service to her and her community.