India is a challenging place to work, with its multiple languages and complex culture. A culture that at first glance seems impossible to understand. Slowly but surely I have started to get certain aspects of Indian life. My Indian friends have started to say that I am becoming more Indian than them. I highly doubt that, but I want to be able to understand the Indian people as deeply as I can. It helps in my connecting with them, which I fell is a very important aspect in my work. Recently I was in India creating sills and video stories on a Social Responsibility project by Abbott on improving the quality of small scale milk production there. I was to get the farmers perspective, and on how the program affects them and their community. I was lucky to be traveling in India with my colleague and film maker Christofer Lynch on another project and was able to add his expertise. I also hired
Kedar Prabhakar Gaekwad a great DP and director from Mumbai. What a team we made!
Originally the farmers that were to be interviewed did not work for many reasons. There are so many intangibles in getting good interviews and photographs of people that its hard for someone who is not in the communications business to understand. "You need farmers?" "No problem here are 10.", "What is wrong with the 10 I sent you?" So I was getting a little worried. Here I am in India for a very limited amount of time and not finding the right subjects. On the 3rd day, we arrived early in the morning to photograph farmers arriving to drop off milk at a milk collection point. People came and went, then a farmer showed up with his family to drop off milk. No one else had brought their family to do this task. Immediately I knew they were the ones. Plus Kedar spoke to them and told me they had a great story. We built the rest or our visit around them. In the end they were perfect. I am always optimistic that things can go from not good to great in a second. Its just a matter of determination, persuasion, and patience.
They were very happy that the program created opportunities for them to be able to not just get by and be able to make plans for the future and grow.
They are an amazing, loving family family. They treated us like honored guests. Not to mention the incredible amount of patience they had with us. We basically spent most of our time getting in their way.
Quotes from the shoot.
"Wait!! I want you to take a picture of me in my favorite dress"
"Chai?" "More Chai?"
"When will you finish"
"You want to come back tomorrow at 6 in the morning?"
"I want to grow my farm to 30 cows"
"I am happy with my life"