This young girl's portrait was made in the midst of a most chaotic scene just an hour or so over the border of Uttar Pradesh, India. We drove to these camps to document the faces affected by the most recent acts of sectarian violence in this region. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, forced to live in camps with barely the minimum to survive. In the middle of one of these camps we set up and attracted over one hundred children almost immediately.
The boys were photographed first in order to calm things down, then it was time for the girls. They sat down behind us and to our right. We started with those possessing less pronounced facial features, so as to minimize shadows under the eyes and so forth. My friend and translator was kind enough to explain our process to the girls, and without exception all of them remained until their portraits were made, and even afterward at the periphery watching their friends being photographed.
It was during this process that this young girl walked up without being asked. She was about to be escorted back when I asked my friend to allow me her portrait. People were pretty surprised that she would interest me, but it was obvious at the time that her portrait needed to be made. I recognized the texture of her hair from my experiences with the Bedouin of Lebanon, but was taken back by the layer of dust on her face… an almost reddish appearance highlighted by bright yellow areas such as the one on the tip of her nose. She was flawless and remains etched in my memory.