Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dancer + Racquetball Court, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2014


Here is another image of this wonderful dancer, made the day after we met at the hotel as she was performing with her group. In four or so weeks I hope to visit the hotel once again and share these images with them, each with her own album!

These images were made at a racquetball court just off of the beach, and we started our session prior to sunrise. All of the dancers and musicians were ready well in advance, and performed while the sun was low, although it was hot enough to almost melt all of us. In spite of the heat, they danced on and we in my humble opinion have an incredible one day portfolio to show for it.

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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm lens onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with natural light only.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Young Ballerina + Beach, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2014


For this priceless dancer we dedicate the campaign for dance costumes. The idea of landing on the island with a suitcase of beautiful fabrics gives me chills, even more so when I imagine these dancers performing their art in the costumes on the beach.

While we still have a distance to go, a few generous souls from this social circle have put us well on the path to achieving the budget necessary for these costumes. Should this young girl speak to you, then please follow the link below to make your mark, to provide the costumes with which she will move on this very beach! 

She is a goddess, and at her altar I bow with my camera in praise. 

My relationship with her family is quite special, and humbles me. We exchange messages via email now and then, always the bright spot of my week. Here is one example of her messages, more than anyone could wish for from another human being.

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"Halim, sus palabras me han conmovido y me han recordado un libro que guardo con mucho amor desde pequeña, "El Principito" escrito por Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Es un libro de amor y de amistad. Un libro que también habla de las estrellas que ríen como cascabeles porque nos recuerdan a un amigo, y así es, las distancia es burlada, cuando sentimos que el cielo es nuestro techo, el techo de todos y una estrella nos refleja el alma de un amigo. Entonces es dulce en las noches mirar al cielo…"

"Halim, your words have moved me and I recalled a book that I save with much love since little, "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It is a book of love and friendship. A book that speaks of the stars that laugh like bells because they remind us of a friend, and as such, the distance is overcome, when we feel that the sky is our roof, the roof of each and a star shows us the soul of a friend. So sweet at night looking at the sky…"

When someone wonders, "why do you visit the island every year?" I point to this image, and to the words above.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Young Dancer + Racquetball Court, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2014


When we offered to photograph her at the racquetball court near the beach in an outfit from a famous designer, her expression was priceless. She loved the idea and we took her to be measured in the city for the beautiful piece in this image. This was something completely different for her, like an actor being offered a role outside of the usual.

What made it all even more amazing is that she applied her dance skills to this fashion session, and impressed the designer almost as much as the photographer. The locals stopped by the courts to practice and rather than being irritated with strangers using the space for something else, they were enchanted by her presence. They sat on the grass just outside of the concrete surface and watched as she performed.

After the session we drove out of the beach and stopped as usual for ice cream, the three of us enjoying something cool while parked on the side of the road… me, this young artist and our dear friend Alejandro. While one of his responsibilities is transportation, he is so much more than that. From picking me up at 5:30 in the morning to translating my thoughts to the families to holding a reflector to making sure we are safe, my work would be nearly impossible without him.

Tonight my mind travels to that beach in Cuba, to the side of the road next to that service station, with ice cream in each of our hands cooling down after a priceless morning of photography.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with natural light.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Young Student + Temple, Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India, April of 2015


This young girl represents our second school, within a few kilometers of the school from the previous post. She is the youngest of seven children, five sisters and two brothers I believe. At her tender age, she is the youngest in the class yet is so talented that she steps in front of the other students and recites the lessons from memory rather than looking at the charts on the walls.

Here she sits just inside the temple adjacent to the classroom, photographed with the help of my dear brother and driver, holding the reflector for her sake. This year we made photographs in the traditional way, yet found chances to try some new approaches.

While many of these images show beautiful girls in idyllic environments, the fact is that most of these girls are in these schools because they lack access to a formal, government education. While the reasons vary from a general distrust of the government system to the need for these girls to perform daily chores around the house, the result is the same. The dress that she was wearing in this picture was the same dress that she wore during all of my visits this past year. The straps behind her back are stitched together in order for her to be able to wear it.

This is the reality that my images are unable to show, and perhaps by design. I hope that we can continue our support for these schools, and witness a brighter future for her and her friends in the village.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Young Model + Rural Road, Artemisa, Cuba, Summer of 2014


One afternoon we decided to visit Artemisa, Cuba. Last year we did the same and photographed four aspiring models living in this small city. We had their prints in hand and contacted them to set up a time to meet. We made the hour and a half drive from the capital and arrived early enough to have some ice cream a block or so away. This province was chosen to formally host the July 26 celebrations for this year, while of course all of the provinces did so less formally.

When we walked to the spot of the meeting one of the young women was already waiting with her mother. It seemed odd to me at that very moment that the daughter was dressed in all white, then again perhaps she had other clothes in her bag. After ten or so minutes nobody seemed to be in a hurry to collaborate, and so the question was put forth: are we making photographs today?

The young woman was surprised, as was her mother. It was at this moment when I knew that we failed to communicate effectively our plan for the day. The look on Alejandro's face is as clear today as it was two months ago. Once again the lesson of assumption was learned, and once again we had to pick up the pieces and put a plan together for the afternoon.

Soon the second model arrived and she was as surprised as the first. We talked for a bit and hoped that they would be interested in more than collecting their photographs. The twins were yet to arrive, and so we decided to give them a call and discuss our plan before they arrive. We were still early, but by the pace of the conversation being had at that moment the sun would set before plans were realized. It was at this time that I made it clear to all that we needed to decide quickly, and that we had already located a suitable place for our photography prior to our meeting.

As we were making progress the mother of the first model decided to put forth her thoughts, which were at best unhelpful. She thought another location might be better, without having seen our choice. She spoke in Spanish thinking that perhaps none of it would be understood by me, while Alejandro knew better but kept his mouth shut.

Fortunately the others were very interested in the photography and went home to gather their clothes for the session. We then offered to put the images from last year on their flash drives, and did so while we waited for them. We even offered to do so for the troublesome mother, but she declined to leave her flash drive behind knowing that she would never come back for it.

Thirty or so minutes later the young women and their parents returned and we drove to our location little more than five minutes away. It was a dirt path perpendicular to the main road, with sugar cane fields on both sides. The young women used the cars to change and we worked for the next hour or so exposing frames for them with their chosen outfits. Farmers in the meantime rode by us as we worked, in carts and on bicycles. The scene was deeply moving, and I was in two worlds at the same time… that of fashion and that of documentation.

As we were finished the twins put their music on for us, and we enjoyed their voices as they had recorded an album earlier in the year. We returned to the city and put the pictures from the afternoon's session on their flash drives as well with smiles all around.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Professor of Dance, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2014


In five weeks a suitcase of ballet outfits will be heading to Cuba with me, to this young woman's students at a prestigious dance school within Havana. Last year she allowed me the privilege of documenting her incredible talent, and left me in awe on that beach. When she moved to a position, she did so with great care and deliberation… demonstrating to me the immense vision she had for our session.

She was as gentle as she was skilled, treating the girls in our company with sincerity and kindness. The girls were after all her students, even though they were involved in my project well before her appearance. She knew that they would be more than excited to see her, and that they would be all over her since this was their first time around her outside of the school. Yet she accepted this role gracefully and spoke with them the entire time, never looked away nor looked uncomfortable for a split second.

Last summer I was unprepared for someone like her, someone at her level. I do however hope that my skills at anticipation have improved since that time, and that this summer she will once again allow me the chance to document her spirit more precisely.

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Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with natural light only.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Young Girl, Pan American Stadium, Havana, Cuba, Summer of 2014


This young girl, known to many of you, has been photographed in this manner since our first time together more than four years ago. Her features and her ability to express herself have always impressed me deeply, never allowing me to be any further from her in my documentation of both.
Through the school of ballet I met her, so it only seems fitting to add her to this past week's posts of images. Her sister was a ballerina in the same school from which most of my present dancers take classes. When we arrived years ago looking for her sister, it was this young girl who entered the room with her eyes as bright as the sun, and with the most incredible enthusiasm to be photographed.
This past winter she turned 15 and we will celebrate this most important of birthdays with yet another summer of photography. 

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Note: This portrait was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film, with natural light only.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign + Costumes for Ballerinas in Cuba, Spring of 2015



It's official… the project to fund costumes for the ballerinas in Cuba began this week! We have placed a reasonable goal and hope to meet and then exceed it, allowing us to purchase as many outfits as my luggage will allow in six weeks!
The idea is simple: to surprise the girls with beautiful outfits and then make images with these very outfits on the beach, in the countryside and within the cities. The girls are in the dark regarding this project, and will be beyond surprised when we arrive to their doorsteps with costumes in hand!
Any and all contributions will be appreciated, let's make this happen! All can follow the link in the previous post to help turn this proposal into a reality for this young girl, and others like her on the island!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Young Model + Scarf, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2014


We met almost five years ago while she was modeling at my friend's school in Havana, Cuba. She was just starting off and had the most striking features at such a young age, an old soul trapped in a young shell perhaps. We exposed a roll for her that same day, and have remained in touch since then, making this portrait just last summer on the island.
She had seen my work with the Muslim communities from Asia and wanted to present her spin, thus the shawl in this portrait. She was having a lot of fun with it, and it all seemed so surreal to me… a Cuban woman on the beach with a shawl over her hair. There were times when I thought I was somewhere else, only to be snapped back onto the beach by the scent of salt and the sound of the waves crashing onto the sand. This is what makes photography so magical!


Model + Countryside, Artemisa, Cuba, Summer of 2014


This is what happens when the documentary approach intertwines with the fashion aspiration of the person being documented. This young woman and her friends live in Artemisa, Cuba. They used to attend a school for models hosted by our dear friend from the capital. Since the school has closed they have remained in contact with us and have shown a genuine desire to continue with our collaboration.

We found the path below an hour or so before we met with the group. Because Artemisa was the scene for the July 26th celebrations this year, our access to locations within the city was even more limited. The young women were surprised when we shared this location with them, but were so happy to have such privacy and serenity during the photography.

They brought three changes of clothes each, and two changed while one was in front of the lens. This young woman's twin was also photographed on the same day, and the twins were a singing duo on the island as well. Toward the end of the afternoon they played their music for us while we put our equipment away. To be with such wonderful people, in the countryside, listening to pop music while putting our stuff away into our mid-century cars was an experience to remember.

www.halimina.org

Note: This frame was exposed by a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hands of Ballerina + Sky, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2013


These are the hands which will greet me in seven weeks on the island of Cuba. The plane always arrives at night, but the very next day we will drive to her house without warning and walk up one flight of stairs to her apartment, knock on the door and hope to see her surprised face.
This image was the last exposure on a roll of twelve, made spontaneously at the end of a session in 2013. This is how incredible she is, that after two hours of photography she has the composure to produce perfect hand positions above her head effortlessly.
She will be almost fourteen this summer, and I can only imagine how much she has grown, how much she had advanced in her dance lessons. The anticipation is almost too much to take!

Two Ballerinas + Sea, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, Summer of 2014


Over the next four weeks we are organizing a movement in order to purchase outfits for six Cuban ballet students, two of whom are pictured here. I leave for the island in July, and would love to take with me several outfits for each student.

Anyone interested in this venture can leave a message below, and all suggestions will be appreciated. Let's come together for this small project and make it happen! 

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Fuji GA645Wi onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film, with me in the water with them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Road to Schools, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, April of 2015


This is the road we take to reach the schools, with mountains all around us as far as the eye can see. The road barely fits one car, and when one comes in the opposite direction all slow down and pull over to the side to allow everyone to pass safely. You can hear a pin drop here, with nothing but the sounds of the birds to break the silence. It is a very special place for me, one that instantly reminds me that we are within ten minutes of reaching the villages, and the schools!


www.halimina.org

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Young Woman + Countryside, Artemisa, Cuba, Summer of 2014


One afternoon we decided to visit Artemisa, Cuba. Last year we did the same and photographed four aspiring models living in this small city. We had their prints in hand and contacted them to set up a time to meet. We made the hour and a half drive from the capital and arrived early enough to have some ice cream a block or so away. This province was chosen to formally host the July 26 celebrations for this year, while of course all of the provinces did so less formally.

When we walked to the spot of the meeting one of the young women was already waiting with her mother. It seemed odd to me at that very moment that the daughter was dressed in all white, then again perhaps she had other clothes in her bag. After ten or so minutes nobody seemed to be in a hurry to collaborate, and so the question was put forth: are we making photographs today?

The young woman was surprised, as was her mother. It was at this moment when I knew that we failed to communicate effectively our plan for the day. The look on Alejandro's face is as clear today as it was two months ago. Once again the lesson of assumption was learned, and once again we had to pick up the pieces and put a plan together for the afternoon.

Soon the second model arrived and she was as surprised as the first. We talked for a bit and hoped that they would be interested in more than collecting their photographs. The twins were yet to arrive, and so we decided to give them a call and discuss our plan before they arrive. We were still early, but by the pace of the conversation being had at that moment the sun would set before plans were realized. It was at this time that I made it clear to all that we needed to decide quickly, and that we had already located a suitable place for our photography prior to our meeting.

As we were making progress the mother of the first model decided to put forth her thoughts, which were at best unhelpful. She thought another location might be better, without having seen our choice. She spoke in Spanish thinking that perhaps none of it would be understood by me, while Alejandro knew better but kept his mouth shut.

Fortunately the others were very interested in the photography and went home to gather their clothes for the session. We then offered to put the images from last year on their flash drives, and did so while we waited for them. We even offered to do so for the troublesome mother, but she declined to leave her flash drive behind knowing that she would never come back for it.

Thirty or so minutes later the young women and their parents returned and we drove to our location little more than five minutes away. It was a dirt path perpendicular to the main road, with sugar cane fields on both sides. The young women used the cars to change and we worked for the next hour or so exposing frames for them with their chosen outfits. Farmers in the meantime rode by us as we worked, in carts and on bicycles. The scene was deeply moving, and I was in two worlds at the same time… that of fashion and that of documentation.

As we were finished the twins put their music on for us, and we enjoyed their voices as they had recorded an album earlier in the year. We returned to the city and put the pictures from the afternoon's session on their flash drives as well with smiles all around.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made using a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Young Student + Garden, Humana People to People India, Chota, Rajasthan, India, April of 2015


It's been a little over a week yet my mind is still with this girl, and her friends in the classroom. Here she stands in her teacher's garden barely keeping it together due to her extremely shy nature. When in front of the video machine, she dances without reservation… but put her in front of a still camera and she is another girl altogether. This alone fascinates me about her, one variable among many.

Her presence is so powerful perhaps without meaning to be, for it is effortless. She defies all categories, her short hair playing with the word 'gender' like a feather in the wind… yet underscoring the word 'feminine' without question for those able to truly see her. She alone drives me to push her message along, to collect support for her school… and with two dozen just like her in that same classroom, she can rest assured that my support will never diminish.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2 with natural light only.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Julia + Rooftop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 2014




While printing the Cuban images tonight I ran across these of my dear friend Julia from last year, and thought about sharing the cleaned images with her. She really asked for little in return for giving her time, and until now had only received a few film images along with the digital samples from our collaboration with Patrick. Tonight and tomorrow I will clean the rest of the scans and scan a few more for her, for she deserves much more.
She drove over an hour and a half to my rooftop studio for our first session, and came fully prepared with the clothes discussed through our conversations. Her hair was flawless, as were her manners. She thanked me every time something was done on her behalf, and took whatever humble direction was offered her way. I will send these to her tonight, with the promise that the rest will be delivered this weekend. I hope that she will accept my invitation for another session this month as well.
Note: These images were made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with natural light only.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Three Girls + Slums of Gurgaon, Humana People to People India, Haryana, India, March of 2015




My first days two months ago with Humana People to People India​ were spent with the Academies for Working Children in Gurgaon, Haryana. The children in these images live in a city which is home to over 250 Fortune 500 companies, dating back to the establishment of a manufacturing plant by Maruti Suzuki India Limited in the 1970s. Since then the city has exploded financially, yet these children live in obscurity walking in between cars attempting to sell sun shades and the like to those driving to and from these very companies.

According to the foundation:

In spite of the fact that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and in spite of the Right to Education Act, which makes education not only possible but also compulsory for all children from the age of 5 to 14 years, India is the country with the largest number of out of school children in the world. 

According to statistics, at least 35 million children in the age group 5 to 14 years are not attending school. Many of them are growing up in urban slums. UN HABITAT states that India has 170 million slum dwellers. Many live under a sheet of plastic or create a shelter for themselves with whatever material they manage to find. 

The children from these families often do not attend any schooling, as the family expects that the situation will get better soon and they can move back to where they came from. Most families do not have the requisite official documents for enrolling the children in school. The parents themselves have no or very poor education and therefore do not pay much attention to their children’s need for education. 

Humana People to People India addresses the needs of such children through the Academies for Working Children. The aim is to give the children knowledge and make them regular school goers. At the end of the 2-3 years program, they can either continue in Humana People to People India’s 4-8th grade program or they can enroll in the local school and continue their education. 

Academies for Working Children have a main center with regular classrooms and 4 satellite centers in or very near to the slum where the children live. It is our experience that the learning center has to be very close to the children’s home. Once the children develop a habit of going to school every day, they can also attend the 4-8th grade education in the main center, which may be one or two kms away from their home. One of the reasons for our success with this program is the commitment of the staff who daily visit the families, meet the parents and solve their problems such as health issues, arranging proper documents for enrolling the child in the government schools, etc. 

The staff actively work to make the Academies for Working Children a success for the children by mobilizing the children, their parents, the local school teachers and the authorities to join hands to create a better future for the children. The teachers at the Academies for Working Children educate the children, organize cleaning actions in the slums, organize events in the neighborhood and pay attention to every single child.

www.halimina.org

Note: These images were made with a Sony RX100M2

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Young Student +Islamic School, Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, April of 2015


Here is yet another portrait from that single day in the Islamic School located near Kairana, Uttar Pradesh. In just one day, we made photographs of over 120 students in various settings… from the subtle light of a window to the glorious rays of the sun. Most of the boys were dressed in white fabric, yet this young boy was different. He was quiet, and photographed beautifully when placed next to the window.

Our last visit in 2013 introduced us to a local family and their good works. Like a few families in the area, they have given their land for the sake of the refugees, and have even built more permanent homes for them in addition to handing over the deeds to the land. Our host for the weekend had built this school financed completely from his own pocket, and would like to go even further should funds be available to do so.

The school is in the middle of a very conservative village, without which we would have never been able to make such portraits. Even my friends in India were quiet surprised when seeing the images, thinking that such was impossible. The family in less than one year has been able to change the mindset of those around them, to include the girls in their quest for education and to show that Christians, Hindus and Muslims could work together seamlessly like in the team making this image.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2, using natural light only.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Claudia + Quinceañera, La Habana, Cuba, Summer of 2014


Although Cuba is two months away, printing the images for the girls has already started. The idea is to hopefully rest the night before the trip rather than spend it printing like the year before last. The task seems daunting, with over 2,800 negatives scanned prior to the Indian trip. A little by little however they will be printed, and made ready. It's the least I can do in return for the generosity of these girls, for their kindness.

In this portrait we see someone familiar of course, here in her fourth year with me. She had straightened her hair for her upcoming Quinceañera, for the photographs to be made and for the celebrations. She looked completely different, while at the same time showing me glimpses of a younger Claudia through her expressions. Throughout all my years with her, it had always been beyond difficult to pull away from her photographically… to place more distance between us. Her ability to vary her expressions was peerless, drawing me in consistently and leaving me breathless in between exposures.

I do hope that she will allow me to photograph her again after her Quinceañera, when her hair has perhaps returned to its natural state. Rather than shedding her shyness as she has grown up, she has actually become more withdrawn. She has always used the camera as an opportunity to express herself… and hopefully in two months she will see my visit as a chance to do what she has done in the past so successfully.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film with natural light only.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Young Student + Islamic School, Village near Kairana, India, April of 2015


Once again from that very same day in the same Islamic School  in Uttar Pradesh another portrait is being shared. The faces that emerged from only one village near Kairana overwhelmed me, and proved once again that such beauty and resolve exist in every village.

Here were people who had never seen me before, and some who had never seen an outsider in their young lives prior to this day. Yet they stood in front of the lens without hesitation and expressed themselves with an honesty that is many times missing in parts of the world where the camera has become ubiquitous; where everyone has one and where images are made endlessly.

This little girl is without access to traditional education, lives in an area where the government schools are considered so useless that the parents would rather keep their children at home. So my host from last year has set this school up for almost 200 children, and has begun teaching the basics of the Koran to the children of this community. 

He yearns to also present a traditional curriculum to the student body and has the resolve to do so, now working on the financial end of the equation to hire more teachers. Yet he needs help regarding a curriculum, teaching materials and so on. We are working on arranging a relationship with another foundation whose strength happens to be this man's weakness, and whose presence would present a strong Hindu-Muslim unity in an area sorely missing such.

I hope to make the connection in the near future, to bring such a curriculum to this village and to see such unity flourish for the sake of all involved, especially this beautiful student.

www.halimina.org

Note: Anyone interested in helping in this matter may feel free to contact me at any time and through this forum of course.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Young Student + Islamic School, Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, April of 2015


In color this time, this is another image from the session in the Islamic school located in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh. Just like in the portrait posted earlier this morning, we made this photograph using indirect light outside of the classroom. The boys had been photographed just earlier, now it was the girls' turn. A few at a time were called from their lessons to be photographed, took turns in front of the camera and returned to the recitation of the Koran.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2 with natural light only.

Young Girl + Islamic School, Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, April of 2015


When we arrived in Kairana, India last month we were told that most of the refugee camps had been disbursed and that the refugees had returned to their homes. The people thought that perhaps this would disappoint me because they were supposed to be the subjects of my photography. This was far from the truth of course, for having less to photograph in this regard would only make me happier.

So we visited the school of our host, an Islamic school he had opened in his own village. The building was glorious, with a spacious courtyard and incredible fields as far as the eye could see all the way around. When we stepped inside this was the first face that greeted me, and immediately made me realize that we would be staying an extra day or so.

She might have been as shocked as I was, but hid her reaction better than I did. She however knew immediately that I was deeply impressed with her, and gave off this most subtle smile in return. The school had about 60 girls in attendance on that day, and perhaps 40 or so boys. .

The men were wonderful and helped us with the photography. We made portraits of the boys in a small room with a window as our source of light, then switched to the walkway outside to photograph the girls with the help of a reflector. They were magnificent, including the one pictured in this image. There was something about her, how she held her head up high even though we were strangers who had appeared suddenly and asked for her portrait. 

The features of her face are etched in my mind, and deny any categorization whatsoever. She is both timeless and of this period, perfect in every manner. 

After the morning photography, we asked their instructor about two voices which we might record regarding the reading of the Koran… and he pointed to her and her friend as the two most beautiful voices to record. Later that afternoon we did so, and were treated to the most glorious reading of the Koran in my limited experience. This is what this work is about, and such has shown me that in every corner of this world immense beauty and strength exist.

www.halimina.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2, mounted and triggered adjacent to a Hasselblad V System.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Child of Migrants +Slum, Humana People to People India, Gurgaon, India, March of 2015


A few evenings ago I was having a conversation with Sombeer, and we were talking about sleeping with the heat of Rajasthan during the nights. Although it is only April, a few nights ago it was quite hot and his daughter had a difficult time sleeping. We talked about the options, which brought us to a story from his past.

He told me that some years back as he began his work in these communities, that when he had a hard time sleeping during the really hot nights, all he would do was to think of the people sleeping under the plastic tents on the side of the road. What was their night like? How did they sleep next to the traffic, with the constant dust sweeping its way into the tent?

So that same night, I did the same and fell asleep without giving any thought to the heat… while of course keeping these incredible people in my mind for the next day's session. This is the story of the young girl in this portrait. She is one of those living in unimaginable conditions, she and others like her endure endless nights on bare floors and with little more than a fabric wall to separate them from their environments.

Tomorrow I head to work in the slums of Jaipur with my good brother Ashok, and hope to document even more so these heroic figures. To them this work is dedicated always.

www.halimina.org
www.humana-india.org

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2, edited for size and contrast… with only natural light.