Women Lead in Kathmandu
These girls are part of a project to encourage the women of Nepal to expand their horizons and take more positive roles as leaders of their community. Women Lead is a local NGO that runs programs for select girls to foster their awareness beyond the school curriculum. We did a photo shoot with the 2012 gals with the objective of putting a face to the project.
Find out more on the Women Lead program at their website:
This was a fascinating experience for me, and a challenge. I entered into the project with an idea of subtle nuances and minimalist photographic style. But the girls changed all that because they are not minimal and each has their own style. During the course of a few minutes with each girl I saw a glimpse of young girls on their journey to women. Perhaps that is what the NGO is really all about, encouraging this next step and looking for the most positive way to take it.
The enthusiasm of some of the girls was the key ingredient. They brought themselves to the experience and made it a winner. This is perhaps how they will challenge the world and we can expect great things of them. Some were shy and afraid to share themselves, or maybe too young for such a confronting experience.
In these images I was looking for confidence and strength. Hope and possibility is not enough, because this world needs leaders more than dreamers. This world needs people who can step up to the plate and tackle a new challenge with all their might. I saw a little of that in these young girls. I will be excited to see where they end up, and I am encouraged to see so much potential in people so young.
The background theme to the images was for each girl to bring an object that represents either their past or future, but with a view to how it effects their life today. We met at a former colonial residence that now cultivates flowers for sale in Kathmandu, and at the flower house we spent a few hours posing and shooting.
Rajina & the peacock's feather.
The peacock has the most elaborate and beautiful feathers, all over. All that beauty and yet every time he sees his feet he cries because they are so ugly. Her mother have her a peacocks feather to remind her not to waste time focusing on one little flaw, but enjoy the beauty of life.
Urusha & her colours.
She had to decide which colours to work with, be it pencils or paints. Now she has decided, she knows what she likes. Purple through pink are her colours and she loves to express them. The choice of colours represents the choices all women make on their lives.
Chandani & her doves.
They stand for peace in every country. They are creatures that don't have to fight, they are not predatory it aggressive. They stand askew and allow things to happen around them. Women don't show their anger, but sometimes fight amongst themselves. Doves also fight amongst themselves, but only gently.
Urjala and the Rubics cube.
It looks simple but when you try to solve it the cube becomes very complicated. And it's colourful. So it is like a woman's life with so many things to solve, but always full of colour.
Aishwarya and the rose.
"I stand firm and confident, unshaken and undistracted from my goal like a rose sharing only my happiness and not grief. My heart is big with love and care for all but that does not prove that i am weak. Remember i have got thorns as well. I wont do anything to hurt you but if you try to bother me or hurt me you shall end up hurting yourself..."
Sabina & the colour black.
She once thought of black as the colour of evil, darkness and fear. But now she says it is the colour of boldness, when you add black to a piece of another colour then that colour becomes brighter.
Dipeeka and the candle.
A candle doesn't know their potential until you light it. They bring light to the world, or the kitchen. A candle looses nothing by lighting another candle.
Sharmila and the cup.
Gifted by a friend who is so close she is more a sister to me. Not longer after we parted the cup got broken by my brother. After two years I cannot throw the pieces away. It is our connection. She was someone who truly believed in me, encouraged me. I still remember her words.
Menuka and a blank piece of paper.
Before wl i used to think society determines who we will become, but now i know i have a black sheet and the pen is in my hand. Women are like blank paper because they are unpredictable.
Shruti and her pen.
Symbol of education, and I'm proud to be an educated girl. In Nepal always the parents give girls the house to clean, but my parents gave me a pen instead.
Amisha and the watch.
We have limited time to do what we really want to so. A girl like me who is just 17 but with so many things in my head it becomes hard to manage my time. Time for study, time for fun.
Ipsa and the mirror.
The mirror inspires me because whenever I look into it I am removed that the only person I am accountable to is myself. I used to judge others by external appearance, but a mirror makes you judge yourself. This means it's better not to judge yourself or other people.
Komal and sticks.
When sticks are on my hands i feel like creating something, feel like exploring my creativeness. Making things, houses and buildings. Architecture.
Ewen Bell's other website is called "Photography for Travellers", an online guide rich in features both practical and philosophical. Field guides to wonderful locations, insights into techniques plus inspiring idea to help you think differently about the art of photography.
Photography for Travellers
Ewen's guiding principles are simple...
"Go slow. Get closer. Look for the light."
"Photography is about showing other people how to see, to share the beauty of life. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle. We only get one lifetime, one chance to add some light into the world. Photography competitions are mostly silly. Cats are excellent."