Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banganga, Rajasthan, Humana People to People India, 2008

Just when I think that all of the faces have shown themselves to me on my third visit to this most beautiful of villages, she walks through the field to us. She is a new student, knows of my work and exudes pure happiness.

Three years ago an experience in this village endeared me to its inhabitants. On my very last day, I heard the camera make a funny noise. I looked it over and realized that the shutter in the lens was broken. My stomach sank.

Did that mean the shutter snapped on that day or that it was broken the entire time in India? Did that mean that 10,000 negatives were all exposed incorrectly?

My stomach sank. I used my second camera to finish the pictures but everyone saw it all over my face, the pain of the unknown. I then told the guide that we would be coming back to the village in the morning, staying overnight. He thought that I was mad because my flight was the very next day. We would have to drive without rest to get back to the capital in time to reach the airport, still needing to pack.

I thought that at least I would have one morning of photography to make up for twenty days of blank negatives.

We did go back and shoot the next morning, I did not sleep for one second the night before. We drove five hours back, flew twenty four hours to the States, slept overnight and then drove to the camera store with three rolls of film, one from the very first day, one from day 14 and one from the very last day.

They were all perfect.

My stomach finally rose.

After all of the negatives were processed, only one roll was half blank, at the exact moment the camera made that noise.

On this day however, all the negatives are exposed beautifully, the camera functions without trouble and we allow this young girl her day in the sun indeed.

I hope that she will be there in four weeks.

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