My time spent in India last summer gave me the opportunity to encounter some truly wonderful fathers. I was blessed to have gotten to speak with and photograph many families in both rural and urban parts of the country. It never failed to amaze me how welcome everyone made me feel. It didn’t take much to have strangers invite me into their shops and homes for tea, water or salty snacks. While I am thankful for my two days photographing shop keepers and artisans in Calcutta, I was most blown away by my photo experience in rural Deodurga, where I had lived for over a year.
Throughout my time spent in this small village, I had accumulated a series of photos taken of the local farmers and merchants-mostly of men and children. I was treated with unparalleled, sincere respect (though I did my best to honor their dignity, especially when holding a camera), which is why I felt compelled to revisit the families to deliver physical prints before returning home to the states. I kid you not, centenarians were dragged out of their beds into the crowded street to see these photos and in turn begged to have more pictures taken of their homes and temples. There was one man whom I was having a hard time finding until the neighborhood children lead me by hand deep into a cluster of rock dwellings where we were able to track down their ‘godfatherly’ figure. He, like most had clearly never seen a color photograph and seemed to go into shock (the good kind). In that moment I realized why I was called to become a photographer.
Whether it was in Calcutta or remote Deodurga, it was common for the men to greet me and welcome me as heads of their households and were usually able persuade their wives into having their portraits taken. I came to learn how important the position of father was-both in protecting and providing for the family and as a role model for his children. (Don’t get me wrong-the amazing women of India are strong as hell. But for today I feel compelled to give a shout out to these inspirational men from across the globe:). Namaskara!