Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Anays + El Campo, Campo Florido, Cuba, 2017

El año pasado tuve el honor una vez más de documentar los talentos indescriptibles de Anays Diz Pe, con la ayuda de mis queridos hermanos Alejandro Peña Gutiérrez y Arley. ¡Saber que estas tres personas me estarán esperando en dos semanas es suficiente, sabiendo que están esperando repetir tal sesión, estas dos semanas pasarán aún más rápido!

En el Oldsmobile de 1951 de Arley, volveremos al campo una vez más en busca de esos espacios, escenarios en los que Anays pueda actuar. Hay muy pocos en mi trabajo que puedan hacerlo, y que pueden hacerlo de una manera tan efímera. Le pedimos permiso al propietario de esta casa, le informamos a Anays que todo está listo y la vimos hacer suya esta casa.

Ella nació para ser fotografiada y para ser escuchada. Por mi parte, la escucho perfectamente y, junto con Alejandro Peña Gutiérrez, estaremos listos con nuestras cámaras para sus actuaciones de este verano.


Last year I had the honor once again to document the indescribable talents of Anays, with the help of my dearest brothers Alejandro and Arley. Knowing that these three people will be waiting for me in two weeks is enough, knowing that they are waiting to repeat such a session will make these two weeks pass by even more quickly!

In Arley's 1951 Oldsmobile we will head out to the countryside once again in search of such homes, stages for Anays to perform. There are very few in my work who are able to do so, and who can do so in such an efforltess manner. We asked the owner of this home for permission, let Anays know that all is ready, and watched her make this home her own.

She was born to be photographed, and to be heard. I for one hear her perfectly and, along with Alejandro, will be ready with our cameras for her performances this summer.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/60 mm combination and scanned for preview purposes only through the negative sleeve.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Syrian Girl + Garden, Zahle, Lebanon, 2017

She is as striking as her predecessors in her camp, as beautiful as any other in this world. Her homeland is in distress, and her life in Lebanon is anything but stable. Yet she does what she can to help her family, and endures with such grace.

On my second day to her camp she was helping her mother with the purchase of some vegetables from a visiting truck. She caught my attention right away, but her presence was missing as we had our first session.

As the third day arrived it seemed that she would never come, and then she approached us with a smile. She might have seen the photographs in her friends' hands from the day before, or just the commotion from the photography. Regardless she allowed me to make her portrait twice, in the shade and in direct sunlight.

She was silent the entire time, but spoke volumes through her expressions. My hope is that this portrait does justice to her spirit, and that she allows me once again to make her portrait tomorrow.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Young Girl + Tree, Granada, Nicaragua, 2017

This beautiful city was also a place my father had traveled to in order to find customers for his textiles. When we arrived I immediately fell in love with it, and the people living on the outskirts of the small city.

From the small burrito store in the center of town to the grand square, the food was beyond tasty. My mind kept thinking if my father had walked these same streets, if he sat in the same square for lunch.

When we arrived we drove around the rim of the lake looking for communities to document. We found a young family earlier, and photographed them in front of the home which they tend for the owners. The family told us that there were many families a kilometer or so up the road, and so we pushed onward to the local school in search.

That is when we noticed a girl with the most incredible hair, the older sister to the one in this frame. Immediately we stopped and walked over to say hello. The family was so receptive, a preview of how we were to be treated in our travels throughout Nicaragua. They were so warm and spoke with us in such an honest, kind manner.

We spoke at length about their lives, how they work well before sunrise and do so in the muddy waters nearby. They do so just to be able to feed their children, and live a most humble life. They live without running water, proper electricity, medical care, bathrooms... while their meals come on a day to day basis.

This was in extreme contrast to the town square which was less than a fifteen minute drive, and of course to communities where all of the above is commonplace. Such is this young girl's life, such is the reality she faces daily.

Yet they treated us as equals, invited us back the very next day and embraced as as family. The people of Nicaragua are beyond comparison, and I for one am proud to call myself a Nica.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm combination.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Nica + La Bicicleta, El Campo, Nicaragua, 2017

En esta mañana fuimos a buscar una comunidad y paramos para fotografiar esta finca. Hablamos con el propietario y él nos dio su permiso. Cuando estábamos preparando la cámara, este increíble hombre se detuvo para conversar con nosotros.

Tenía más de setenta años y aún tenía la energía de un hombre con la mitad de su edad. Todos los días iba en su bicicleta a la carretera principal en busca de comestibles, y todos los días estaba levantado antes del amanecer para trabajar en su finca.

Al principio era un poco tímido, pero luego, por supuesto, le pedí su retrato. Él estuvo de acuerdo con una sonrisa, y se quedó justo en el mismo lugar para esta imagen. El sol salió durante unos minutos y tuvimos la suerte de tener luz ideal. Cuando terminamos, nos invitó a su pueblo a fotografiar a otras familias, y aceptamos su invitación al día siguiente.

La gente de Nicaragua es amable y tiene la forma más bella de aceptar visitantes. Tengo muchas ganas de visitar su pueblo una vez más y de hacer verdaderos retratos de su comunidad.


On this morning we went to look for a community, and had stopped to photograph this farm. We spoke with the owner and he gave us his permission. As we were setting up the camera this incredible man stopped to have a conversation with us.

He was well into his seventies yet had the energy of a man half his age. Every day he rode his bicycle to the main road for groceries, and every day he was up well before sunrise to work his farm.

I was a little shy at first, but then of course asked him for his portrait. He agreed with a smile, and stood right in the same spot for this image. The sun had come up for a few minutes and we were lucky enough to have ideal light. After we were finished he invited us to his village to photograph other families, and we accepted his invitation the very next day.

The people of Nicaragua are kind, and have the most beautiful way of accepting visitors. I look forward to visiting his village once again, and to truly making portraits of his community.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW and a 100 mm C lens.

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Familiar Face, Small Madrasa, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

We have seen each other before, almost one year to the date. She has been photographed by me before, and her voice is as beautiful as the color of her shawl. Before her madrasa was located in a field between two villages... and now it has moved to one of those villages.

Behind her is the wall of her open classroom. The beautiful fields which surround her village can be seen through the small openings. She, along with her friends, attend religious classes only in her village. She is, according to local thought, too old to continue her formal education... and is to remain close to home at her age.

Nirvana Bodhisattva and Nirvanavan Foundation is working hard in an adjacent village to supply that formal education within the madrasa environment. We witnessed the opening of the first school in this vein, and are happy to report that true progress is being made thanks to Imdadullah Nadvi Nadvi and Kari Shokeen, as well as the dedicated teachers.

We hope to extend such a program to her madrasa, and have a most wonderful headmaster with whom to collaborate in the future. She and her friends deserve so much more of course, and we will do what we can on our end to honor their wishes.

Last year when she and her friends were standing in the back of the truck and waiting for the driver, she began singing so sweetly. It took me a second to locate the source of that sound, but when I did she has the biggest smile on her face. I do hope to see her once again next year, and to see progress being made in her village as well.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Jasmine + El Mirage, Los Angeles, California, 2016

Two years ago my session with Jasmine occurred in the most spontaneous of ways. We had communicated through email earlier but had yet to set up a date to collaborate. Then the day before my drive from northern to Southern California we decided to meet at El Mirage the next afternoon.

We had never met before nor had we reviewed the outfits. The anticipation on my way down almost drove me crazy. When we met she was as sweet as in the messages, and was more than prepared for our session. The sun was just perfect but the wind had picked up a bit. Nonetheless Jasmine performed flawlessly for the lens and for each frame she gave it her all.

She embraced the wind and used it to her advantage. Her hair was just perfect and her movements in line with the wind. Even more amazing she withstood the dust that was in both of our faces. The images we made on that day will remain long after we are gone, and are a testament to her spirit on that beautiful afternoon.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Una Niña del Campo, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2017

Uno de los aspectos más increíbles de Cuba es que justo cuando crees que has visto la más hermosa, otra cara hermosa aparece frente a la cámara. Habíamos planeado fotografiar a dos primas que vivían en las afueras de La Habana y llegamos a su casa para planear la sesión. Cuando llegamos, había dos personas más esperando, amigas del campo que habían venido con sus padres para visitar.

Su curiosidad fue, por supuesto, en la pantalla, ya que vieron un hombre norteamericana con sus amigas sobre el día siguiente. Cuando se les preguntó estaban tan contentas de ser incluidas y también querían ponerse trajes de ballet, al igual que sus amigas.

La sesión fue planeada para la tarde si tuvimos la suerte de tener sol. Cuando llegamos, tuvimos sol y todas las niñas estaban listas. Sus presentaciones fueron perfectas, cada chica con su propia característica. Salimos a la carretera y encontramos otra salida, ya que casi todas las salidas en Cuba son perfectas para la fotografía.

Había, por supuesto, cuatro niñas, así que tres tuvieron que esperar mientras uno era fotografiado. Sin embargo, fueron muy pacientes y me enorgullecieron de ser su fotógrafo. Esta joven se fue al campo al día siguiente, pero pudimos tener las fotografías impresas para ellos antes de que se fueran.

Con suerte, visitarán a sus amigas una vez más este mes de julio y ¡ojalá podamos hacerlo todo de nuevo!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Karla +Nanda, El Campo, La Habana, Cuba, 2017

Cuando alguien me pregunta: ¿por qué el trabajo en Cuba es diferente?

La respuesta es fácil para mí: es una colaboración igual entre fotógrafo y modelo. Los jóvenes modelos están completamente involucrados en las decisiones, desde la ubicación hasta la ropa y el tema. Por lo general preguntamos, ¿la playa o el campo o la ciudad? Algunas veces las modelos nos permiten elegir, algunas veces ellos deciden sobre la ubicación.

Si bien mi preferencia por la ropa es oscura y atemporal, para resaltar el modelo en lugar de la ropa, sus pensamientos son muy bienvenidos. Alejandra y Karla son maravillosas, mujeres jóvenes ... y es un placer fotografiarlas.

Esta mañana salimos al campo mucho antes de que saliera el sol. Salimos temprano para llegar a tiempo para el amanecer. En nuestro camino notamos que estaba nublado, pero continuó en nuestro camino. Decidimos que se realizarían fotografías, con o sin luz solar.

Tuvimos la suerte de tener sol temprano y nubes más tarde. Esto nos permitió fotografiar durante unas horas, en lugar de solo una hora. Esta casa fue encontrada mientras conducíamos, y el dueño fue increíble. Le encantó la idea e inmediatamente nos permitió usar la casa para nuestra sesión. Preguntamos si podíamos regresar y él también estuvo de acuerdo.

¡Espero ver a estas dos jóvenes en un mes y dirigirme a más zonas rurales, además de explorar la ciudad!


When someone asks me: why is the work in Cuba different?

The answer is easy for me: it is an equal collaboration between photographer and model. The young models are completely involved in the decisions, from the location to the clothing to the theme. We usually ask, the beach or the countryside or the city? Sometimes the models allow us to choose, sometimes they decide about the location.

While dark and timeless are my preferences for clothing, in order to highlight the model rather than the clothing, their thoughts are most welcomed. Alejandra and Karla are both wonderful, young women... and a pleasure to photograph.

On this morning we drove out to the countryside well before the sun had risen. We left early in order to arrive on time for sunrise. On our way we noticed that it was cloudy, but continued on our way. We decided that photographs would be made, with or without sunshine.

We were fortunate to have sunshing early, and clouds later. This allowed us to photograph for a few hours, rather than just an hour. This house was found as we were driving back, and the owner was amazing. He loved the idea and immediately allowed us to use the house for our session. We asked if we could come back and he agreed as well.

I look forward to seeing both of these young women in a month, and to heading out to more of the countryside, as well as exploring the city!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hermanas + 1951 Oldsmobile, La Habana, Cuba, 2017

Dos de las mas importantes para mi, aqui están dos hermanas después de una sesión de fotografía por la mañana. La mas grande es estudiante en la Escuela de Ballet Nacional, y la pequeña siempre quiere venir con nosotros para hacer fotos!

Conocí a esta familia cuando caminaba por la calle un día, ya que su madre estaba vendiendo vegetables de su casa. Desde ese día, nos hemos conectado en innumerables sesiones e hicimos algunas imágenes eternas. Lo que es aún más impresionante es que su hermano es uno de los bailarines más prometedores en la escuela, todo un logro en realidad.

En un mes, con suerte, visitaremos la playa y tendremos otra sesión ... ¡con un helado en el camino a casa!

Nota: Esta fotografía fue hecha por las chicas, con la Sony RX100M3.


Sisters + 1951 Oldsmobile, Havana, Cuba, 2017

Two of the most important ones for me, here are two sisters after a morning photography session. The older one is a student at the National Ballet School, and the little one always wants to come with us to take pictures!

I met this family when I was walking down the street one day, as her mother was selling vegetables from her house. Since that day, we have connected in countless sessions and made some eternal images. What is even more impressive is that her brother is one of the most promising dancers in the school, quite an achievement in reality.

In a month, hopefully, we will visit the beach and have another session ... with ice cream on the way home!

Note: This photograph was made by the girls, with the Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Film in Bags, Silver Springs, Maryland, 2018

The film from my time in India is in the most capable hands of @dodgechrome and my dear brother Dave! The excitement is building, hoping to see the images next week!


Note: Ironically this image was made with an iPhone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Liliam + Corner, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2017

Summer on the island is filled with familiar places, faces and memories. Such is this portrait of wonderful Liliam, one model from the school run by Gysleda Virginia De La Barca Vega. Every week we visit the school and every week we see something different.

That morning we headed out to Guanabacoa very early, along with Noel Castellano. Both of them woke up well before sunrise just to be ready for us, as we picked them up from their homes. Noel was kind enough to meet us on the street so that we could make it out on time.

The sun came up very strong this morning, without a hint of clouds. Thus we worked quickly before it was too much for the models. Liliam was quite brave and did her best regardless, as in this portrait. We tried to find some spaced which allowed for some shade, yet looked for the small spots of sunshine to illuminate her light eyes.

I look forward to this summer and hope that we can collaborate once again. In less than six weeks hopefully we will meet once again at the school, and see the new faces all over again!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100III mounted alongside a Hasselblad V system.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Anays + A Night in Havana, Cuba, 2017

Here she is, a few minutes before she made our portrait as a team. We drove all over Havana looking for places to photograph, and Alejandrospotted this scene immediately. We turned around and found that it worked perfectly, so we unpacked and had a spontaneous session in the street with Anays.

The bulb was as strong as in any stage light, and happened to be on for that time only. A few minutes after we finished it turned off, and the security person guarding the parking lot closed his shop.

We had a great time and gained much inspiration from the experience. This year much more research will be done in looking for such spaces, and making use of them with such talent! 

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100 III.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Nathy + Window, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2017

It has taken me over a dozen years to begin to see below the surface on the island, and in those dozen years the families have bestowed upon me the deepest of honors: access to their most precious, their children. While I do enjoy walking the streets and making the random portraits, it is these lifelong relationships which fuel my drive to return year after year.

A single portrait of a laborer in the streets of Havana is priceless, but to have these children call me while on the island for a session is beyond my capacity to describe. Over the last few years, the number of tourists with cameras on the island has exploded.

This past year, one question kept creeping up on me: has the sentiment between photographer and subject on the streets disappeared in the city? Years ago, when I walked around with my camera on a tripod, the reaction was much less skeptical and much more inquisitive. The past few years have proven the reverse for me, while my relationships with the families has proven to be the best of investments.

Such a relationship is the reason behind this young dancer's portrait. On this afternoon her father called to tell me that the weather looked good, and we might have a chance at an afternoon session. We of course had our cameras with us, and made our way to their home. The parents wanted something different, and so we drove out to the countryside.

It was a familiar neighborhood, but we decided to cross to the other side of the railroad tracks in search of homes. We ran across this one and its owner granted us permission immediately. So we set up our cameras and began at this location first. We were able to use the outside, as well as the inside of the home, making for some memorable images.

She was just magnificent, and showed us how much she had changed over the past few years. Such a session in direct sunlight would have been very difficult for her then, but this year she reveled in the sunlight. She and her family will always have my admiration.

It is my sincerest honor to be given this opportunity, and in six weeks I hope to repeat this session on another glorious afternoon in Cuba!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100 III.

Me ha llevado más de una docena de años comenzar a ver debajo de la superficie de la isla, y en esos doce años las familias me han otorgado los honores más profundos: acceso a sus seres más preciados, sus hijos. Si bien disfruto pasear por las calles y hacer retratos al azar, son estas relaciones de por vida lo que alimenta mi impulso de regresar año tras año.

Un solo retrato de un obrero en las calles de La Habana no tiene precio, pero hacer que estos niños me llamen mientras estoy en la isla para una sesión está más allá de mi capacidad para describirlo. En los últimos años, el número de turistas con cámaras en la isla se ha disparado.

El año pasado, una pregunta me siguió: ¿ha desaparecido en la ciudad el sentimiento entre el fotógrafo y el sujeto en las calles? Hace años, cuando caminaba con mi cámara en un trípode, la reacción era mucho menos escéptica y mucho más inquisitiva. Los últimos años han demostrado lo contrario para mí, mientras que mis relaciones con las familias han demostrado ser las mejores inversiones.

Tal relación es la razón detrás del retrato de esta joven bailarína. Esta tarde, su padre llamó para decirme que el clima se veía bien, y que podríamos tener la oportunidad de una sesión de la tarde. Por supuesto, teníamos nuestras cámaras con nosotros y nos dirigimos a su casa. Los padres querían algo diferente, así que salimos al campo.

Era un vecindario familiar, pero decidimos cruzar al otro lado de las vías del tren en busca de casas. Nos encontramos con este y su propietario nos dio permiso de inmediato. Así que configuramos nuestras cámaras y comenzamos en este lugar primero. Pudimos usar el exterior y el interior de la casa, creando algunas imágenes memorables.

Ella fue simplemente magnífica, y nos mostró cuánto había cambiado en los últimos años. Tal sesión en la luz del sol directa habría sido muy difícil para ella entonces, pero este año ella se deleitó en la luz del sol. Ella y su familia siempre tendrán mi admiración.

Es un honor sincero que me den esta oportunidad, ¡y en seis semanas espero repetir esta sesión en otra tarde gloriosa en Cuba!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mother + Daughter, Rama, Nicaragua, December of 2017

45 years after we lost our home to an earthquake I returned to my birthplace of Nicaragua. The experience of walking in the footsteps of my parents cannot be described fully, for my mind still needs to process the events of last December.

One thing is for sure, the people of Nicaragua treated me like a prince, like one of their own. Thanks to my cousins Victor and Carlos, it felt just like home. Their homes were my homes, their hospitality was as generous as any in my travels. Certainly this was a reflection of our culture, of their respect for my parents... but it was so much more, and I may begin to understand more so when we meet once again this December.

Then there were those we met on the road, such as this family on our way to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. We never did reach the coast, but this neighborhood of Rama was as perfect as we could have imagined. The people were so generous with their kindness, and allowed us to have a morning session which resulted in this portrait.

These beautiful people work hard day in and day out, and their lives are anything but easy. Their entire neighborhood was built on the outskirts of the town without planning nor distribution of basic services from the municipal government. Yet they endure and do their best for the sake of their children.

I look forward to returning in December and going deeper into my family's history, as well as the relationships formed during my first visit in over 4 decades.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/100 mm C lens combination.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cami + Abandoned Structure, Near Los Angeles, California, 2017

This past year was a truly remarkable one thanks in part to this exquisite dancer, and her incredible heart. She responded to my casting call for dancers two years ago, and never let the communication go as we went back and forth. She was totally engaged in the concept, giving her 100% throughout the process.

Even before we met she shared the clothing options, all dark and timeless according to my preferences. This was our second session outside of Los Angeles, and was just as exciting as the first. The night before was a sleepless one for me.

Watching Cami move from one expression to another was like sitting down for a performance. There were times when it was necessary to remind myself that my job was to document the performance, while still enjoying it. To have been granted the opportunity was both an honor and a privilege; and my hope is that the images are a testament to her physical talents and spiritual kindness.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/100mm combination onto Ilford Delta 100 film.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Young Woman, Rama, Nicaragua, December of 2017

This young woman's portrait was made as we attempted to cross the country in search of the eastern coastline. It seemed like nobody knew the way, it was clear to me that few had made their way from one coast to the other.

When my parents lived in Nicaragua they had never ventured that far, and my cousins living in the country now have never attempted it. Some told us that there was a road, while some told us that the only way was by plane.

So one day we just decided to head east and see for ourselves. The landscape was as beautiful as any seen through my travels, pristine and lush with lakes and volcanoes. This was in contrast to the hardships people faced in the countryside. There are the cities, and then there are the villages.

After half a day of driving, we ended up in the port city of Rama. We looked at the map and it told us that we could continue for a few hours and find our way to the eastern coast. So we followed the map on the phone, all the while my friend kept telling me that it was impossible.

After thirty minutes of driving through the outskirts of the city we ended up at the end of the road, a narrow crossing over a river. Just past the river was a small village consisting mainly of wooden homes. We finally realized that the map was suggesting that we head to the coastline on a canoe down that river.

On the bright side the village was sublime, and the people walking by us welcomed us to visit. So we did and ended up speaking with this young woman's family and friends. It was too late to do any photography, so we promised to return the next morning. We did return and had the most incredible of mornings with the photography.

The home we used was incredibly beautiful, and the children gathering around us were so sweet. The adults of course accompanied the children and supported us fully, even though just the day before we were only strangers to each other.

Johana and I have since become friends and speak often via messenger. She is continuing her education at the capital, and doing her best in order to provide for herself and her family. I admire her sincerely, and am thankful for being accepted in such a way by her community.

I look forward to seeing her and her community later this year, and doing even better for them.

Note: This was made with a Hasselblad V system, 503 CW and a 100 mm lens combination.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Students + I, Outside of Alwar, Rajasthan, India, 2018

As the bags are unpacked this evening from the trip back home, memories of the past two months are already coming to mind. This triple selfie was made at the end of an hour of photography at a village just a few kilometers away. The session was spontaneous, and all let their hair down for the photography... a rare event in rural India for me. One was a former student, and one is presently a student at the model Advaita Garden school just outside of Alwar, Rajasthan. Nirvanavan Foundation is doing an incredible job in this area, and has been doing so for almost two decades now. It is time to gather further support and funding for the schools, and much more!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dancers + Friends, León, Nicaragua, December of 2017

In a very short time the dearest of friends were made in the city of my father's young adulthood. A simple visit to a ballet school in León resulted in us being embraced like family, in the most beautiful group of dancers most willing to create art.

Antonella and Jose two such beautiful people. Without reservation they offered themselves to the camera on several occasions, with the latter also coming along to help us with the younger dancers one afternoon. We had less than a week together yet were able to create memorable images nonetheless.

For some reason this past December the weather was different. Usually Nicaragua is sunny between December and February, However it was cloudy on so many afternoons, including the afternoon when we made this image. Luckily we had some stretches of sunshine, giving us such an exposure.

This year I will be prepared to honor the school, its students and certainly the professor as well. The trust has been placed in me, and in December the effort will be put forth to make the best images possible. 

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503 CW/180 mm combination, scanned through the negative sleeve for a preview of the work!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ballerinas + Countryside, León, Nicaragua, December of 2017

Almost 45 years to the day, and almost 70 years after my father set foot in this city, this collaboration was born with a bit of happenstance. We had finished our work with a local NGO and were on our way out of the city when we saw a street advertisement for a ballet performance. We asked around and made our way to the school.

Inside the school was a handsome man directing a few workers on a project. Without much preparation we approached him and talked about the possibility of a collaboration with his students. He spoke in a most humble manner, and agreed immediately while inviting us to the performance. We changed our plans immediately and made our way to the theatre early in order to get the video camera ready.

So there we were, in the city of my father's young adulthood, watching a ballet performance and hoping for my photography to take hold in that beautiful city. The very next day we visited the school and made arrangements to work with the dancers.

This frame was exposed during our first session with the older students. We had found this beautiful spot just outside of the city, and asked the owners of the land for their permission. They gave it without hesitation and we made our way here with a handful of dancers. The trees all around us produced a beautiful combination of shadows and highlights, and the dancers presented their art within this mix.

My hope is that this year will allow us to dedicate much more time to the school, and these most gentle of people.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503CW and 60 mm C lens.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Moment Between Friends, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

The classroom had just been painted the previous day, and the smell of paint still permeated the warm, morning air. The colors looked absolutely glorious and set the mood for our morning session. Just outside of the classroom sat perhaps forty students learning the Koran, and their voices carried into this beautiful space.

Mukesh and I split the duties, a digital camera in his hands and the film camera in mine. We were fortunate to have two identical rooms, connected by an open doorway. All the girls gathered with Mukesh to make the more spontaneous images, while one girl at a time would come into my room to produce the portraits on film.

This proved to be an incredible combination, for the girls loved to be in front of the digital camera. They loved to be creative, to make photographs with their friends, to express themselves in a different way.

Once my film work ended, it was also time for me to make digital images. It was at that moment when these two young girls walked in front of the camera. Suddenly they broke out into a series of smiles, laughter, movements and pure joy. At least two dozen exposures were made and all the while they allowed me to do so.

This was a rare moment in a most conservative setting. While I have always thought the girls in this community act like girls the world over... perhaps behind the walls of their homes, I have rarely seen such abandon out in the open. These girls knew so, and allowed me to witness their unfiltered joy!

A week or so later it was time to hand these photographs to the girls. The young girl to the right was in the school to receive the photographs, and I asked her to sit next to me while Mukesh was handing photographs to the other students.

Knowing that she would be shy to receive the photographs out in the open, I handed them to her quietly. However, I handed them to her one at a time while smiling ever so slightly. Her reaction was incredible. She did almost shy away, but she remained in place, smiled and took one photograph at a time from my hands while truly looking at each image. She made such an impression on me, one that will remain in my memory for life I do hope.

These are the new colors of the new school, this is the joy in the students as Nirvanavan Foundation proceeds to establish the school thanks to the generous circle of people here on FB. I share this and hope we can continue our support for next year!

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Young Student + New School, Shamli, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2018

Yesterday we returned from three weeks in Uttar Pradesh, and the most incredible visit to her beautiful village. Thanks to so many generous people here on FB and through our exhibits, a new school has begun within her traditional madrasa. Nirvana and his dedicated team at Nirvanavan Foundation have taken it upon themselves to begin this project and see to it that the efforts succeed.

It is for her and her friends after all that this work is dedicated. In addition to their traditional Koranic studies they will now have the Uttar Pradesh curriculum. For the first time in their young lives they will study what some in their area take for granted, a quality education. While some in her village are sent to private schools, the majority depend on the local government school which is at its best mediocre. In addition, most families will refrain from sending their girls above a certain age... thus the school within the madrasa has evolved.

She and her friends are beyond happy to have such a school now, and with an all-female teaching staff as well. The classrooms are beautiful, freshly painted and supplied with proper electricity and fans. Their art is on the walls, with much more art to follow. In may at perhaps more than 40 additional girls will join the school, making it a considerable presence in the village.

I hope that her expressions says it all!

Note: This portrait was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tree on the Outskirts of Alwar, Nirvanavan Foundation, Rajasthan, India, 2018

This is the scene which awaits anyone visiting Nirvanavan Foundation just outside of Alwar, Rajasthan. There are over a dozen of these magnificent creations between the foundation and the adjacent villages. The next two days will be spent here prior to heading back out into the field on Tuesday. It is an honor to collaborate with Nirvana Bodhisattva, and these incredible trees!