rfg3 photography

Faces Project

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The Faces Project is a series of portraits of people whose spirit & karma shine through their circumstances.  Rich or poor, healthy or sick, the eyes are truly the windows to the soul.
 
 

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Her sadness hurt.  It still hurts when I see this image.  The series did not work too well and I have never forgotten the feeling of cold, dankness that seemed to surround her.  When we started, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I couldn't figure out how to capture what I was feeling.
 
Strangely, when I developed the shots, nearly all of them were off with this cloudy, filmy murkiness to them.  Eventually, I have just accepted that her presence was heavy and in conflict and this is what came through in the images.
 
 
 

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He's a guy, a real kind of fellow with spunk and spirit and so much going on.  His lashes are long and luscious, luxurious like any Hollywood type might want.
 
He was so round that I found him very hard to capture and shoot.  Partly, I think it is his youth, but there was more to him going on than just youth - he was, vibrant.
 
 
 

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Delhi is this strange contrast of formal government life and poverty stricken life on the streets - and everything in between.
 
Our series together was extraordinary for me.  As we went through the process of building the communication between her and me as translate through the lense, we found calm. 
 
When I started the series, I thought she had a humorous side and her snaggle tooth gave her this light aspect.  As we worked together, I became aware of the dignity and strength within her.  She was serious and her power awed me.
 
 
 
 

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We had a bit of a rough go of it.  I saw him on the street just sitting down at the corner of a busy intersection in Mumbai watching the world go by so to speak.  I stopped the car and tried to get his approval to do some shots.  He bargained with me, not in a normal kind of way, but with good English, proper King's English.
 
I don't usually like to shoot people who want to be paid for it, unless they are indigent and so we had this awkward commerce aspect to our shoot.  He did not seem to be a person living in dire circumstances and I half expected him to pull out a model shoot waiver along with a request for residuals, in advance.
 
 
 

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A tough old cookie.  He was snarly and mean spirited and didn't like me taking his picture.  I apologized and then he said ok. 
 
I never really figured out for what reason we were doing these pictures and tried to walk away a few times, but he motioned more and more and more.  The series turns out with a bit of an edge and I'm not sure whether I brought the edge or he always had it.
 
I can honestly say, I did not like this man, at all.
 
Perhaps he caught the American penchant for celebrity.  I hope it isn't too contagious.
 
 
 

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I sat across the street from this man for quite a while, just watching, wondering about his bowl.  It was large and plastic, the blue plastic type you'd find under a kitchen sink or in the closet with the scouring powder.
 
I watched him to see if there was an angle to his begging.  He didn't proffer his bowl, didn't play and instrument or reach out for contributions.  He swayed gently in a manner akin to the blind, but somehow, reminiscent of a person listening to a slow melody or quiet song.
 
I wondered if he were really blind and knew how silly this was because the air of authenticity stood out from this man.
 
And when we began, first without his knowledge, suriptitiously taken, then closer, he said to me, in English, "Feel free to take my picture."  And sheepishly I went closer, thanking him. 
 
While shooting and talking and then growing to understand, he had been listening to music.  It was the music of the streets and the people and me taking pictures of him, knowing that I did not know that he knew.
 
We sat together a short while and he told me his story.  He has been blind since birth and considers it a blessing.  He hears music everyday that most of the rest of us just don't get.
 
 
 

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For more information on The Faces Project, feel free to click the email link below.

The Faces Project Information Email Link

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I'm particularly fond of this man and the series I did with him.  Though neither of us spoke the same language and custom required us to maintain a certain formality, his religious devotion and spiritually came through as the study progressed from distant side shots through to the magic in his eyes.
 
 

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He is a worker, construction, labor, whatever he can do it get by.  He's unmarried with little hopes of a family or the gathering of kin.
 
He works the construction tent cities that pop up around projects, hiring himself out for the day as the work will last.
 
A large part of the world would be happy for a fraction of the safety that many of us take for granted.  And yet, he is resolved.  He lives his life for another, his God, and he doesn't resent his lot in life.
 
How many of us can say the same?
 
 
 

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If Don Knox had been an Asian, he would have been this guy.
 
When we were doing his shoot, he kept on making these wacky expressions.  At first, I thought he was just a little off, but as we progressed, I started to laugh because he was funny.  I felt badly and mildly as if I was taking advantage of his misfortune until he too burst out into laughter and I realized, he had been making crazy faces for me and especially with his eyes in order to be funny.
 
We had a very serious, deep from the belly laugh, this new friend of mine and I.
 
 
 

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This lady hurt me.  Her pain came through the lense and into my brain and deep into my soul.
 
She was sick, some kind of respiratory illness or tb and she coughed and was on her side at times spitting up blood.  I found myself with tears streaming down my cheeks as I shot.  Her eyes, deep and poignant, loaded with life in battle for survival.
 
I bought her food and she motioned for me to sit down with her.  We spent a short while together in silence as she ate and made signs for me to share her meal. 
 
I felt guilty.  I didn't want to offend her, but I was afraid to catch whatever it was she had and so I declined and left, heading back to my nice hotel and its clean water and many varieties of vegetables, lambs and breads.  I left her with food for one meal which she had offered back to me.  She meant it as if she could do with less, though clearly, I didn't need it and she needed more.
 
 
 

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If they say the eyes are a window to the soul, then this young lady opens her soul to the world.  From her, there is so much to learn.
 
She lost her parents in the Gujarat Earthquake.  Click the link below for more on her and her story.

The Gujarat Girl, sample study click here

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Vietnam - The Ladies Look, sample study click here

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We are our past and future merging in the present.