Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Refugee + Wall of Fabric, Uttar Pradesh, India, November of 2013

Through the generosity of my friends Shari and John, this young girl found a new home this past weekend. In contrast to the peaceful environment in which her portrait will hang, she lives in a refugee camp located planets away from her original village. She and her community were forced to move out of their homes due to a storm of violence falsely perpetrated by some in the name of religion.

She now lives without running water, without electricity, without a school, without a bathroom, without medicine and without privacy as this image illustrates. We were walking within the camp as the sun rose to an almost unbearable height for portraits. This young girl and her friends were following us around, and we happened to be in their part of the camp when we thought about doing something different.

We asked her to stand behind the 'wall' of the tent, and she accepted without hesitation. We exposed a few frames as she listened to her friends' giggles, then thanked her and moved further up the camp. In this image, as in her life, the fabric is the only barrier between her and the environment, her only protection against a world often times cruel in nature.

The camps are located in Uttar Pradesh, and I look forward to visiting them once again with my dear friend Asrar. When asked about when we could visit these camps, this good man only responds in this way: we are working for humanity. This is the same answer he gives whenever I ask to go anywhere with him. So I have accepted this with humility and hope to do as he says in a week or so.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.

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