Saturday, February 26, 2011

In Search of a Banjara Girl, Rajasthan, India, November, 2008

This is the young girl referenced to in the last entry, the one from the Banjara Community. When we showed the picture albums to the street children, it is this young girl that they recognized. She was the reason for their smiles and laughter, they recognized one from their community.

This is her second portrait in as many years. The first time we met was during my first visit to India, during a special day arranged by Humana People to People India. On this day many activities were under way, including one contest between women walking very fast with containers balanced on their heads.

My first portrait of this young girl was made behind the main tent, with white fabric from the tent serving as the backdrop. This portrait was made the following year at her school, a basic open classroom on the roof of a building donated to the foundation. While she was absent when we first arrived, she showed up later because she heard that we were there to photograph her once again.

A previous entry described this incredible day; suffice it to put down at this moment that over ten dozen images were made of her, ranging from two clips in the hair to one clip to a roll or so without either clip.

The year following this portrait my documentation of her continued, this time in a village a bit distant from the school. By this time, she and her community had moved out of the town to a more remote location. The children had stopped attending the foundation's school and she was working as a house maid as well as tending to the family's livestock.

Two years after the portrait above our collaboration ended. Although we found her once again after asking around, by this time she had become so shy, so conscious of herself, that she refrained from even stepping out of the tent to exchange greetings. The younger girls were making fun of her, even teasing her about the attention she was receiving from this stranger.

So we of course respected her wishes and photographed the younger girls. One day they too will refrain from being photographed. Until that time however we will return.

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