Saturday, February 1, 2014

Refugee + Camps, Uttar Pradesh, India, November 24, 2013

The first quarter of film has been scanned so far, and the excitement has increased with every face. Looking through the scans is like reliving the travels, seeing the images turn positive two months later is indescribable. 

Seeing this young girl's spectrum of expressions made me pause tonight. She has seen so much over her lifetime, and even more so since she was forcefully removed from her home almost eight months ago. Violence between religious communities has once again affected those most vulnerable, and now only thin plastic sheets separate her from the cold nights.

Knowing a little about her experiences makes me feel that this series is reversed, that her smile should be fading rather than building. This is a tribute to her strength and has proven to me once again that those seemingly defeated cannot be counted out by any means.

She is, like her sisters throughout my portfolio, peerless. These images were made without a moment's notice, yet she is as flawless as any ever photographed. 

So much more than this she is, and I remember myself scrambling for rolls as she stood so confidently in front of the lens. A small pond was behind her, with tall grasses acting as a backdrop. Her expressions were as serene as the scene around us. Making her image from a distance seemed natural, but my instinct was to get close to her to allow for a more intimate exchange. Seeing these images has left me speechless tonight.

Our host family has provided her community with land on which more proper homes could be built, and structures have already been started. During my week alone four homes were built, and more were on their way. I hope that her new home is a peaceful one, and that one day she can return to her original community.

Note: This series made with a Hasselblad 555ELD/180mm combination, and roughly scanned for this preview through the negative protective sleeve.

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