Monday, September 6, 2021

Young Student + Flowers, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020

Just about now Indian time we would be visiting this girl's school in the district of Shamli. This is the first year since 2012 without a visit to India, and I'm already missing her and her friends. This portrait is from last year, right before the quarantine was put in place by the government. It's a view of a world without the worries that came with the pandemic only a week or so later.

This small village has a school which we wish to support. Last year, as a gesture of goodwill, we had the school plastered and painted. This pleased the children to no end, for how they sat in a building resembling more or so a school. The color behind her is the one picked by the painter, almost perfectly matching the tones of her skin. 

Usually after the film photography the girls get to be photographed more spontaneously, because we have more time to do so. They go around and find flowers, change scarves, pose with each other and let their creative thoughts flow. This pot of flowers may have been used by a dozen girls, but each girl makes it her own. 

This is an exercise in expression for these girls, because they are rarely allowed to be so free. Sometimes they catch themselves smiling and immediately put their hands over their mouths in response. They learn slowly that their expressions are welcome, and slowly allow themselves to let go.

Soon we hope that the pandemic eases its grip on their part of the world and we can move forward with finding support for her small school. She and her friends deserve nothing less.

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