Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Student, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, Afternoon of November 17, 2009

Three years have passed since my time in Rajasthan, it seems a lifetime. The schools have since closed in return for new schools opening in other villages, helping spread the message of girl education to other villages. Next year we hope to reopen five schools with the grace of Humana People to People India, and continue with our support as long as possible.

The young student above was photographed from a low angle, using the sky as a background. Her friends stood behind me helping produce this expression. In their presentations exists an incredible sense of fashion, style. Children walk up to me dressed in timeless clothing, minus distractions associated with mass market productions.

On the eleventh frame of the ninth roll of film her portrait was made on this glorious afternoon. She stands with a deep sense of calm and with the support of her sisters in the audience. As one of the first in her family to attend school, she has been exposed to a world otherwise unavailable to her... and under the guidance of a young teacher from her own village.

She stands with her arms tightly to her side, expressing herself almost purely through her facial expressions. In one exposure she lifts her shoulders while smiling, in another she relaxes her shoulders and looks down at me with perhaps a longing to be understood.

I am proud to be able to represent this young spirit through this image. Of course my representation is actually her presentation, and I am humbled by this fact. As a photographer I understand my role as nothing more than making sure that the exposure is correct and that I am prepared for her performance.

People will sometimes ask: How do you capture such moments?

How does one neglect to release the shutter in reaction to this expression?

At times we get used to presenting ourselves in a neutral manner, walk through grocery stores with only the task of finding certain items in mind. So perhaps when someone expresses themselves so our reaction is somewhat blunted by this manner of living.

Does this limit my work at time? I am sure that it does and that it does so without my knowledge of it. Working with children from around the world has helped me recuperate from the ailment of indifference, and has helped me recognize the moment when a child expresses themselves with such joy, such happiness... and embrace it while releasing that shutter.

I hope to further improve upon this, and represent emotions more than likely missed by me during the early part of my recuperation. Next year I hope to return reinvigorated and rejuvenated in large part due to these beautiful spirits.

Halim Ina Photography

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