Monday, October 17, 2011

A message from a new sister named Jade, Model Mayhem, United Kingdom

Just over a day ago a message arrives from a young woman named Jade. Through a mutual website she finds my work, and takes the time out of her busy university life to send an email my way.

'I love seeing your work pop up on Model Mayhem. I think it adds a sense of the real world into a very unreal world - if that makes sense. For me it makes me think... what is more important... fabricated beauty that can be transformed into icons for all women to look up to or the contrast which I think that your work shows... real people in their own situation, comfortable in their own skin in a very real world. No nonsense!'

'I wondered do you ever see or keep in contact with the people you photograph? I see it says money goes to the people. I wondered do you get to know them beforehand? Just curious as you have such a diverse range of people. It really interests me as to who each person is when I look at them so I wondered if you get to k now them in order to take the portrait?'

'I find your work very inspiring as both a model and a photographer as well. I understand you are probably very busy. I just wanted to share my thoughts.'

Besides the generosity of her words and her most insightful views, what strikes me most about this young woman is her humility. She shares her intimate thoughts with me and asks for nothing in return, ends her message with nothing but goodwill. 

Here is a young woman from a great distance with the sensitivity to ask such questions. Unlike many others from my experience, those that have looked at the portraits and then turned to have an unrelated conversation, this young woman has seen the people in my work rather than my work. She understands its purpose and wants to reach through the screen and learn the people's stories. Rather than looking at a child's face in one portrait and comparing it to perhaps the face of someone in her life, she acknowledges that each person has their own voice.

She then visits my other websites, reads the stories and watches the videos. She sends another message before I respond to her first one. She tells me that she understands my work more fully after watching the videos and reading the stories, and thanks me once again for my time, even though she has yet to receive a message from me in return.

We go on to exchange a few messages on this wonderful day, paragraphs long when the usual is a few sentences in length. She has a strong desire to follow a different path. While studying photography is a first step, she feels the need to do more perhaps in the world of nature conservancy. She goes on to ask me how my work began, how my photography relates to the people within it. She listens to my story with respect and acknowledges the difficult road ahead of her, yet another sign of her humility.

At the end of our exchange I ask to include her words in my next blog entry. Without hesitation she approves and according to my request sends a picture to go along with this entry. She will read it this morning and my hope is that she will approve yet again of my words.

I feel that I have met a brave spirit this weekend, and one to enrich my life as well as the lives of countless others in the near and distant futures. She is a sister to me now, and makes me proud to be her brother.
Halim Ina Photography

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