Monday, April 7, 2014

Refugee + Muzaffarnagar Riots, Uttar Pradesh, India, December, 2013

Another young girl from this camp presents herself to us in this portrait. Months after this was made my mind is still seeking answers, trying to understand more so her expression. Amazing she is in that she does this in front of three dozen of her friends and in front of the male members of her community watching just meters away. I am always in awe although tens of thousands of these portraits have been made over the years.

When we arrived in these camps my friend Asrar would just tell me, 'put the camera down someplace and just tell me which faces you would like to photograph.' This was difficult for me to do at first until I realized that these girls were drawn to the camera, and that my presence was a welcome one. So we did just that, put the camera down in a good spot and watched as all of them walked from their tents over to us.

Chaos would ensue at first, followed by an incredible patience on their behalf. They would sit near to us and wait for their turns without making me feel hurried, especially when the sun will only give us an hour at the most of perfect light. In this portrait she turns to her to the left, allowing that sweetest of triangles to light the shadows under her left eye.

My friend Asrar and his team have gone out to visit the camps most recently and have begun the reconstruction efforts. Soon many of these camps will be more permanent, with housing and bathrooms in addition to water wells in each area. I hope that this improves her life and allows her to begin the healing process.

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