I took a lot of portraits. Many of the people asked me to photograph them. Otherwise, I usually asked permission, using sign language and many smiles. Some are grab shots; street portraits of people I saw as beautiful, industrious, warm, full of vitality, and deeply human.
It is easy to go to a place like this and see the people as quaint. But as exciting as it is to get a glimpse of an old world, that old world is not comfortable, safe, healthy, or easy. While some of my portrait subjects were clearly comfortable and perhaps even wealthy, too many of them live difficult lives, limited by illiteracy, poverty, and the vestiges of the caste system, often on the brink of disaster. I did not want to simply photograph and move on. So if these portraits grab your heart as the people of this incredible country grabbed mine, I ask you to join me in helping to make a difference.
While I was not able to visit it during my trip, my niece (who was in India for five months with her family) spent time helping at a crèche in Kodaikanal, operated by Help Kids India http://www.helpkidsindia.org/). With day care, nutrition, health care, and education, these crèches provide a lifeline, and a toehold on the path out of poverty, to the poorest of the poor. If you'd like to help, they would welcome your donation.
For more about India, see http://blog.lkephotography.com/India