Monday, September 30, 2013

Girl + Student, Nirvanavan Foundation, Near Alwar, Rajasthan, November 4, 2009

This young Indian princess levitates above the lens of the camera. In one effortless expression she presents herself as without equal, a sister to those in my portfolio and one who will one day reach her goals regardless of the considerable difficulties placed in front of her.

Imagine ourselves placed in front of a camera as we are going about our day. Would we be able to present ourselves so honestly, without reservation? Would we be able to hold the gaze of the viewers in this manner?

This is why I admire her and the others in my portfolio, and the viewers who give them the time to tell their stories.
Halim Ina Photography

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Young Girl, Nat Community, Near Alwar, Rajasthan, November 5, 2009

She belongs to the Nat Community and lives near Alwar, Rajasthan. In this community prostitution is the only trade, and girls are sold by their own families to the local villages in exchange for their services. Brothers sit alongside sisters on the side of highways awaiting customers. The very people ignoring them during their daily routines then turn to them in their time of sexual need.

She knows nothing else even though her ancestors were something else entirely different: traveling performers. They traveled between villages and performed for everyone from peasants to royalty. The girls for example would walk on a tightrope while the men accompanied them with music. Remnants of this were still visible during my visit, as one young girl walked on a tightrope after our photography. Nirvanavan Foundation is helping to change this reality through their good works, and through their involvement in this community.
Halim Ina Photography

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Student + Bench + Grass, Girls Bridge School, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, 2006

She sits on a bench familiar to some of you and had her portrait made almost seven years ago. The sun had set by the time we clicked the shutter, but her skin retained enough light for the exposure. I look forward to visiting her village and confirm that most of the girls are now attending a government school nearby. Humana People to People India has made quite a difference in this young girl's life.

I remember arriving late one afternoon to see the sun setting behind the hillside next to the village. We thought that we had arrived in plenty of time but miscalculated due to the location of the village and the distance needed to arrive. Although disappointed I was easily convinced by the volunteers of the foundation to do something.

So we did, and moved a bench to the brightest spot of the roof with the help of the women. Everyone was laughing at the commotion being made for the sake of photography. The camera was set up higher than the young girls and they sat down one at a time for their portrait. This was the first time that they had laid eyes on me or my methods, and it was all quite foreign to them.

Nonetheless they sat with a quiet dignity that touches me to this day. 

I do hope that they have since attended the formal, educational system and that their younger sisters now have access to education like never before. While we will be collaborating elsewhere Humana People to People India will arrange my visit to this village and all those from my past as well. I am honored with this noble act and look to make wonderful images for the HPPI team.
Halim Ina Photography

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leandro, Pan American Stadium, Havana, Cuba, Summer of 2012

Behind the Pan American Stadium we worked early one morning to make these images, a white wall as the background. With the sun in his eyes he moved from one position to another effortlessly, having a full performance in his mind prior to our meeting. He performed a piece for the lens that had yet to be witnessed by the general public.

While doing so he had the presence of mind to slow down for the camera when a certain position was achieved, allowing me to document the performance more easily. He did so without losing flow nor concentration. I admired him during the process and even more so looking back two summers ago.
Halim Ina Photography

Friday, September 13, 2013

Claudia + Wind, La Habana del Este, Cuba, July of 2012

Incomparable is one adjective I use to describe her, there are many others. In my three years with her she has never provided me with anything but her fullest energy, her unyielding creativity. Dozens of rolls have been exposed on her behalf, never the same expression nor the same emotion.

She is the quietest of girls away from the camera, keeps to herself and has a select, small circle of friends. In her neighborhood she rarely steps outside of her home, rather she stays inside and works on her paintings.

We met for the above image at a small house rented by the family for a few days on the beach. Three families were sharing the humble structure, displaying for me a level of affection and generosity rarely seen back home.

Immediately upon our arrival she and her parents offered their time for portraits. Here they were, enjoying themselves on the beach away from the city and all of its madness... yet they were able to remove themselves from the sand and go with us in search of a proper location.  We jumped into Alejandro's 1954 Chevrolet and headed up the road.

We stumbled on a beautiful mound, and decided it a perfect place to separate her from the environment, to highlight her exquisite ability to shine in front of the lens. This was her first time working photographically in front of her parents, and she cherished every moment of it. She was powerful, strikingly emotive and filled with creativity. She moved from one expression to the next effortlessly, surprising even her father standing next to me watching it all unfold.

We ended the session after an hour and headed back to the house, where we talked for a bit more before bidding everyone farewell. As we drove down the narrow path to the main road, she walked diagonally across a grass field back to the beach. She walked with a bounce displaying her happiness, and waved to us as her smile faded into the distance.

The images below show the exact location of the above image, with the mound to the left of the 'X.'
Halim Ina Photography

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dance + Glasses, Izmir, Turkey, June 2, 2013

On June 2 of this year I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with a special group of individuals. After a studio session we found a space within the campus for an hour of photography. In the middle of the protests these young people gave of themselves without hesitation. They came to the university despite the risks involved during this time period, and have to this day remained in contact with me. They are an affectionate group and have my sincerest respect. This proof is of my dear friend, Alp Aren Şenol, and others are to follow.

He was wearing these glasses for fun and never thought to use them for our session. I mentioned it to him and he took to it, placed them on his face and moved from one incredible position to another. I admire this about him, his ability to accept.
Halim Ina Photography

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Light of Life, Series, University Campus, Izmir, Turkey, Afternoon of June 2, 2013

During my time in Turkey this past summer I met person after person each with an incredible enthusiasm. Whether this enthusiasm was directed towards an international meeting focused on patients with cancer, whether this enthusiasm was immersed in the craft of photography or whether this same enthusiasm was directed towards the art of dance... it was the same level of enthusiasm, pure and genuine.

On June 2 of this year I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with a special group of individuals. After a studio session we found a space within the campus for an hour of photography. In the middle of the protests in their city these young people gave of themselves without hesitation. They came to the university despite the risks involved during this time period, and have to this day remained in contact with me. They are an affectionate group and have my sincerest respect. 

The young woman above bears a most meaningful name, one that reflects her divine personality: light of life.

Note: This series was made with a Hasselblad 555 analog system.

Young Girl + Hands, Outskirts of Muş,Last Morning in Turkey, June 10, 2013

On June 10 these images were made, one day after we were introduced to each other in the street. We happened to be walking in her neighborhood the day before, looking for children to photograph. We were granted permission to photograph a couple of girls and then were overwhelmed by many more. Unfortunately the sun had set and the photography was limited. So we returned the following morning on the very day of my departure from Turkey.

As we walked closer to that same street I could see her and her friends standing on the corner. Her smile by now had become familiar to me. We talked with them for a few minutes and arranged another session. My dear friend, Ömer F. Atmaca, helped with the reflector and we photographed on the side of her friend's home. She had the most perfect combination of shyness and confidence, rarely spoke a word but expressed herself without reserve.

Looking back at the group picture of the girls and myself from the day before, she was the one next to me with her arm around my shoulders. Having visited many conservative societies in my lifetime, her act of friendship took on even more significance. As a result her name is etched in my memory: Elif.

Fittingly her name is the first letter in the Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish alphabets... and refers to the origin of the universe.

When we walked back to town she walked alongside us. When we reached that same corner, she turned to her right and started up the path to her home. As distance increased between us she waved her hands and in secret blew kisses towards us. She did so repeatedly, and this was my last memory of Turkey.
Halim Ina Photography