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Spirit of India

February 2017

This was my first trip to India. In the middle of february I went to Bangalore with my best friend Peter. Peter is adopted from the Bangalore region, but have never known his biological family. Approx. a year earlier, in 2016, Peter went in Bangalore in search of his biological family. He went through local and national media, but without luck.  

He did came across of a place called Home of Hope. A place who cares for the destitutes of Bangalore. He felt an obligation to help the Home of Hope and wanted to come back at a later time. India is a huge attraction for any photographer. With such a diverse, contrasty and vibrant people, this was an experience I wouldn't miss out on. I went along in the hope of getting some nice portraits, doing some street photography and getting the feel of the country. And I was really in for a treat – India was absolutely awesome!

We thought Home of Hope was going to be our place to do slow portraits using flash of the people living here, but reality was that these people were not only destitutes, but mentally ill. Something Peter didn't realized the first time he was there. It gave us some difficulties. The people was not really capable of any sort of direction and it didn't feel right to try stage them at all. We did some quick portraits, which came out good, but not the way we initially intended. 

Knowing that we wasn't going to spend too much time at the Home of Hope, we arranged a meeting with a guy named Manoj. Peter met Manoj on his first trip and got connected. Manoj works at the Bank of Tokyo who supports a couple of local, very poor, schools for the youngest. Manoj introduced us to these schools so we could get a first hand experience of the how it all worked. Our hearts immediately fell for these kids. The were full of life, joy and curiosity – just being kids. The schools lacked lots of amenities, mostly toilets which seemed odd. They cannot afford toilets which meant they also had to get water and sewer. This meant the kids had to use toilets from buildings close to the school. The teachers even spend their own salary to pay for the electricity. We learned that most of the kids primarily come to the school for food - second for learning. Strangely, it was the school uniform they needed the most.

India was amazing. Really, it was everything I hoped for. I will come back as soon as I get the chance.