Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Orphan Child, MACODEF, Western Kenya, March, 2006

In four weeks images from the States will be shared alongside images such as the one above.

The past three months have been filled with portraits from the States, with the last two weeks being spent in California. The impetus behind such work is to include faces and spirits from the West alongside the portraits from the East.

The girls from Ethiopia will be able to see women with similar features from California; the girls from India will be able to share their smiles with women from Ohio. Similarities will be as evident as differences, perhaps more so.

In soliciting models from the States, many lessons are learned. While some models dismiss the work through their lack of response, many accept my portraits with nothing short of love. They give of themselves, they donate their time for the sake of sharing their portraits with sisters in my portfolio.

Being accustomed to working with a team of designers and hair stylists, these very women show up with their own wardrobe and a most humble presentation. They understand my work without having ever met me. In four weeks the first images from California will be presented alongside the images from Ohio, images of women whose understanding of my work is without parallel.

In my own backyard faces have been found, lessons learned.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Miss Dayna, Daughter, Sister, Model, Orange County, California, October 14, 2010

This is my second day in California photographing women from the West to put alongside their sisters from the East. A young woman named Miss Dayna visits with us and allows her portrait to be shared with the people in my portfolio; she is especially taken by the young Dasanech girl in the above portrait and chooses her print to take home with her at the beginning of the session.

The young woman from Orange County is anything but a stranger. She sends me a note in response to seeing my portraits and immediately accepts to have her portrait made. Even though she is leaving the very next day for a tour of the East Coast through her modeling, she gives of herself for almost four hours today for the sake of her sisters in my portfolio.

She is happy to learn that we want to drive to her area and provides us with a place to photograph according to our specifications. While waiting for her to finish a few necessary tasks for the next day, we decide to drive around a little bit and find a natural setting for her portraits. We drive up to a spot and see a perfect, small hill. We decide to turn into the park and find it to be completely accessible.

So we contact Miss Dayna only to find out that the park is her childhood park, that she grew up playing in this very space. She is so happy to learn of our choice and arrives a few minutes later, ready and completely prepared with a perfect wardrobe, dark and simple.

We work for the next three hours, climbing hills and going between dry bushes with sharp edges. She braves all of it with the most ethereal of smiles. While the sun is shining strong, she maintains her gentle nature, always laughing and keeping the session light and professional. She is to be greatly respected and has now joined the family of portraits she has so admired.

The women in my portfolio will soon see her portrait, her spirit and, most importantly, her smile.

What a gentle soul!

At the end of our session, she learns of the fact that we have never visited an In-N-Out. After a few questions, she immediately plans out our order and organizes a trip to the nearest location. We follow her on the highway for two exits and end up having a wonderful dinner together. She has the curiosity of a young girl and just smiles from ear to ear at our reactions. What a meal!

At times the photography takes on a life of its own, this afternoon was one of those days in great thanks to Miss Dayna.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Upcoming Visit to California, Connection with the Girls in Portfolio, October, 2010

The past two weeks have been spent corresponding with women, models from the West Coast. Thoughts have been passed back and forth, concepts exchanged regarding a photographic collaboration. Most of these wonderful women are professional models, earning their wages from their profession. All of these generous women have offered to give their portraits on behalf of the girls in my portfolio, to share with the a glimpse of their world. Without hesitation they did so. 

In four days, the photography begins. For me at least, the thought of placing faces usually found on the covers of fashion magazines next to faces never before seen outside of their villages is a motivation. Another is to show an album to the girls that consists of their faces next to women with similar features but from a world far away, women that have taken the time to learn about them and to give their portraits for their various causes. My hope is to come back with faces like the one above, with expressions very much the same.