As a commercial photographer, I generally loathe the numerous requests I get for “freetography”. I can’t count the times that someone wants me to shoot images for free because it is for the benefit of “their” good cause and no real benefit for me. On the other hand, I hope I can make a difference and lend my skills to something I deem worthy.
I was asked by a personal friend to do some studio work photographing quilts and scarves that were made out of recycled Indian saris. It seems that there is a group of commercial sex workers in Delhi that through little fault of their own, have ended up as prostitutes in order to eat and care for their children. The Anchal Project helps these women to create a revenue stream for themselves by buying used saris and turning them into handmade quilts and scarves. The proceeds of the sale of these items also contributes to the education of these women’s children. Hopefully, this new found money will allow the workers to leave the prostitution business and offer their offspring an education that will make a difference in their lives.
The founder of the program, Colleen Clines, and I spent a day in the studio making photos of these unique items. Her sister, Maggie, was the art director for the shoot and is the web mistress for the project. The shoot was quite simple and fun. All of the fabric pieces are quite beautiful and one of a kind items. By the end of the day, we had photographed 71 items that will appear on the website, www.anchalproject.org, for sale.
I know we all have pet projects and charities that are dear to us. If you have the inclination, please take a look at the web site and consider buying an item. Your purchase just may change a life a half a world away.