Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Child and Strip, Banjara Community, Humana People to People, Rajasthan, India, November 21, 2009

On the morning of November 21st of 2009 we arrived at a tiny group of houses just a small distance from the main road. We set off looking to photograph the Banjara Community and thought we'd find the children playing nearby. The good people of Humana People to People India guided me to this area and helped me even though this was outside of our pre-arranged schedule.

Instead of finding the children near the homes, we saw a small bus taking the children to school. On this day it so happened that they went into the nearby town for classes, instead of working on the streets. I was of course happy to see this, even though my intent was to photograph them. We talked to the only adult in our presence for a little bit until he felt comfortable enough with our intentions.

A group of perhaps six children came along and sat on a thin strip for their portraits. The sun by this time had reached an uncomfortable angle and we did our best to get the children to laugh, the best way to get the eyes to relax in the sunlight. We photographed for less than thirty minutes and then set out to find a couple of government schools in which to work.

The Banjara Community has affected me deeply since my first visit to Rajasthan almost seven years ago. Their independence from the local communities is clearly visible even for a visitor such as myself. They keep to themselves and seem content doing so. At a local bus stop they chat amongst themselves, laughing wonderfully and presenting themselves much less formally than the others sitting around the tea shop.

Their children are incredibly beautiful, and wear the most gorgeous outfits. The patterns range from floral to space age, always abstract and colorful. The skirts are tightly pleated while the shirts fit so tightly against their small torsos. I will return year after year to photograph them, and hopefully build a larger portfolio than the one presently in my possession.

Halim Ina Photography

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