Saturday, April 27, 2013

Woman, Banjara Community, Rajasthan, India, November 10, 2009

On the very first roll and with the very first exposure her portrait was made on this day. Nirvana and the good team of Nirvanavan Foundation were my guides along with a young man from this community who also happened to work at the hotel. He advised us that he could take us early in the morning and help us with the photography.

She lived in the very first group of homes that we visited, and all were quite receptive to our presence. We talked for a little over fifteen minutes and then set up for the session with this white wall as our background, in line with my formal portraits. The sun had yet to rise and gently touched her face, leaving very little regarding a shadow.

Only the women were present, along with the children. Due to our friend's presence it seemed much easier to work, and we included the women in the photography. She was one such woman and was brave enough to stand first for her portrait. I worked both in color and black/white, exchanging backs on the camera as the textures/colors changed in front of me.

They were just waking up and so the mood was quite serene and quiet. The location of the homes, a distance from the main road, helped make it even more peaceful. We worked for perhaps one hour or so and then moved onto the next set of homes.

The excitement was increased in that we never knew about the people on the other side of the hill, or at the end of the path. Only our guide knew and we followed. The biggest challenge was certainly speaking to the older men and gaining their trust. Almost every single young girl wanted to be photographed, and of course the boys without question.

Humana People to People India works with these communities under their Academies for Working Children. As with many migrants, work happens to be what is available for the men, and fending for sustenance for the children. Many work in dangerous situations on the streets, ranging from garbage collection to hustling in the local town to working as maids in the nearby homes.

They are seen as undesirable, if seen at all. I however am in love with them, in love with their way of life, in love with their level of independence and in love with their features. I will return later this year to photograph them, and hope that they remember me.
Halim Ina Photography

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