Rather than remain shy and thank our hosts for the visit, it seemed natural to meet the curiosity of the children with our own, and to do something completely different.
When this young girl came to school that day, was she thinking that a foreigner was going to visit her school and make her portrait? What did she think when we arrived and walked into her classroom? Did she ever think the stranger would have the courage to abandon social protocol and ask outright to photograph her and her friends?
These thoughts drove me to ask, and her expression says it all for me. They were both excited and nervous, shy yet confident. We found a light wall within the compound and photographed each girl on her own.
My interpretation was that they were both in disbelief and overjoyed at the opportunity to express themselves, both to the camera and to the outside world. It was the highest honor for me to do so, and to have been entrusted with their portraits. The work after all is for them, and their sisters in other parts of the world. They are the highest forms of beauty and love for me, and my only hope is that my portraits will somehow convey this to the viewers.