As we pulled into the slum yesterday with Sombeer Singh Summy and parked the car in order to talk with some of the families, a thin girl appeared and walked past the front of the car. She caught my eye for less than a second, but from her form I immediately knew that she was the one… immediately asked Sombeer to speak with her regarding a portrait.
We went ahead and walked to his students' homes and spoke with the families first, then asked the mother of the students to inquire regarding this young girl. On our way back to the car she did so as a few of the girls gathered around her to hear about the stranger's request. It is unimaginable for me, to be asked for my portrait by someone just driving into my neighborhood. It is even more so under the circumstances, as this young girl lives across from a concrete factory under the worst possible conditions.
This is what made her family's reaction to our request that much more remarkable. When we arrived this morning she was ready at sunrise, and walked with the rest of us to an abandoned temple for her portrait. We waited for the clouds to disappear, and then started with her incredibly poignant expressions. She never wavered, allowed me to expose two rolls, waited for two others to be photographed, and walked back to the front of the camera for another roll… all without a single word.
She allowed me to arrange her hair, to guide her regarding her body position without flinching once. I was and am now in awe of her, and am proud to have made her portrait this morning… even more so after being informed by Sombeer that Rural ConneXtion Foundation wants to open a school in the center of her neighborhood and will do so should funding be organized.
Anyone interested? This is the real face of girl education… this is the true story of a girl and a community in need and we as a community can make a sincere difference in her life.
As we finished our work, she walked back to her home and we packed up our things. As we drove out of the area, we noticed another girl and I asked Sombeer once again for a portrait. Without hesitating we walked out of the car to ask, and it o happened that the young girl was this one's sister. She agreed as did her friends, and we set up for a quick fifteen minute session. This time though this young girl was smiling so much, proud of being photographed before and recognizing us as perhaps less than strangers.
We have arranged to photograph her again this morning, and I cannot wait to see the difference!
Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2 just yesterday.