Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Young Girl + Student, Humana People to People India, Barwani, Madhya Pradesh, 2016


This past week was spent in the beautiful state of Madhya Pradesh, bordering both Gujarat and Maharashtra near the locations of the schools. For the past year Humana People to People India has been working in this tribal region, helping out of school children join the mainstream school system.

The landscape of this region has an almost lunar appearance, with trees seemingly placed here and there in an almost staged scenario. It is as if the gods raked the small stones into perfect mounds, and sprinkled dark brown and light tan colors over the landscape. Over and over again we caught ourselves in awe of it all, keeping in mind that the lives of most are certainly anything but idyllic.

We were able to visit over a dozen schools, and photograph hundreds of children. As most of those on this social page know, my focus is on the girls... and in order to gain access to their images photographs of hundreds of boys needed to be made. Such being said, the boys in this region were just as beautiful as the girls, and almost as serene. There was something different about them, quite calming actually.

We asked one father, and he told us that since the houses are spread so far apart, the boys stay at home with the family and refrain from playing in packs. The family system is intact, and the respect was evident all the way through our visit.

This image was made during our last day, and in the most remote of the schools. The children walk to the school over the mountain range in the background, more than a few kilometers each day. The people are tribal in background, and have lush traditions including song and dance. Before our photography on this day the girls and boys sang for us, with this scene in front of our eyes.

It seemed that we were sitting on the moon, yet connected firmly to the earth. The language used was local, and foreign to all of my friends and assistants. After the singing we used this opportunity to make photographs different than my usual, of course putting aside the plane backdrops and embracing it all.

I had my eye on this young girl since our arrival, just loved her features and her clothing. When her time came I was hoping the sun was shining as clouds had formed during our filming. It so happened that luck was on our side, and this portrait was made both on film and in a digital format.

The wind was blowing her shawl all over the place, yet she maintained her composure and expressions. It was like another world altogether, taking me deeper into timeless India with each frame exposed.

Tomorrow I head into Mewat to photograph our schools. The Muslim girls will be quite a change from their counterparts in MP, yet of course just as fascinating. As the images are made more will be shared.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.