Monday, February 29, 2016

Best of Friends, Kanjar Community, Nirvanavan Foundation, Alwar, Rajasthan, India, 2016

All it took was one suggestion and the girls took to it instantly. We thought it a good idea to ask the girls to do something different for their portraits, to show their love for each other during the photography. Two girls did so immediately and the rest was as they say history.

Two girls after two girls displayed sisterly love in their own way, from the palm of the hands against the cheeks to elbows on shoulders. It was wonderful to see such abandon, to see the young women in my India work act with such freedom. All approaches are appreciated of course, but something about this afternoon touched me deeply.

Here were girls living in a community rooted deep in the sex trade, attending classes in the school offered courageously by the team at Nirvanavan Foundation, showing the world that hope does exist, that another future will be theirs from this point forward. The girls fully understand the reality around them, yet displayed an unrivaled joy this afternoon proving to me that change is around the corner.

Nirvana and his team are doing incredible work in these villages, as they have been given unprecedented access to the children. The teachers come from nearby villages, and do so at the risk of alienating themselves from their own families.

The courage cannot be overstated, and is on all sides of this social equation. Such expressions as the ones displayed here cannot be denied, and cannot be suppressed. They are the future of these communities, and hopefully the beginning of the demise regarding the type of work demanded of the young women.

My hope is that the young boys also in class will see their sisters in a different way, and lead the revolution. This is a lesson I learned a long time ago from Nirvana, that the boys are as important and even more so should change be the desire.

So on this day we also photographed the boys in the same way, and asked them to also show their own styles. They also jumped at the chance and the mood was palpable. Let's hope that these two young women walk a different path, and that in ten years their children are being photographed in the same way, yet in a different environment... free and full of potential.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3 with natural light only.

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