Friday, April 5, 2013

Student + Straw + Stool, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, November 20, 2009

Here she sits in an open courtyard and under the shade of a large tree. We lost the ability to use direct sunlight, and decided to pursue photography with indirect light. She and her friends were patient enough with us as we fooled around a bit with the reflector, and the location of the session. Her friends were standing to my right, perhaps five or so meters away. Behind me were maybe two dozen people from a distance watching the proceedings underway.

Earlier in the morning we lost much time waiting for the teacher at her home, although she was advised of our need to begin early. All was however made up to us we thought with a nice round of hot tea. Sometimes I forget that this is all voluntary and that much is asked of the people helping with the photography, not to mention to subjects of the photography themselves.

As we arrived at the school it was evident to me that the teacher was less than enthusiastic about the photography. She went through with the motions but was quite aggressive with the girls, lacking a smile and pushing them when their time came to sit for their portraits. So much so that I needed to stop the work and advise that she needed to change her demeanor for the sake of the girls at least. Needless to say she was less than pleased with my reaction, and moved in the opposite direction emotionally.

Clearly the girls were very uncomfortable with something, and when the teacher was asked to dismiss herself, their mood changed for the better. All of a sudden they showed themselves as excited about the photography, and really wanted it to continue. We decided to forget about the issues beforehand and looked for a place to go on with the work. This is how we ended up at the location above, and with that expression.

I so miss these beautiful spirits and wish to return to do better for them. This I hope will happen later this year, along with the reopening of five schools for girls. Two benefits will be held this summer to this end, and out of respect for the young girl above and her friends.
Halim Ina Photography

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