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Future for a Fisher Folk?



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15 year-old Karthick

 Karthick sits in front of me, a shy fifteen-year-old whose dark, bright eyes are fixed on the floor. Karthick came to see me so that you, dear Reader, can have a glimpse into his past and maybe even become a part of his future. You see, Karthick longs to do something important with his life, and he knows that having an education can open up a whole new world for him. He came to Chennai to study a House Electrician Course that is offered by IID Community Colleges. He has already made a few friends in the college and loves being there among so many other young people. However, there is a problem.

Karthick, with a friend from the Community College
Karthick hails from a small village near Tada, Andhra Pradesh, and he and his family belong to a community of fisher folk. This small village is situated in the bay area of the Pulicat Lake, and it is a very poor community. Basic medical facilities are not available, and to go to a hospital, the people in this community need to travel at least an hour by boat. Karthick himself traveled one and a half hours by boat each way to attend school. During the monsoon season, the whole community needs to be housed in government run facilities as the area in which they live is usually completely flooded.

Both his parents fish for a living in the rivers close to where they live. Sometimes they leave for months at a time, leaving Karthick and his three older sisters to take care of themselves while his mother and father earn money for the family. Whenever they catch enough fish to save a decent amount of money, they return home again. Sometimes they return home exhausted and drained after being away from home for weeks at a time, but with only just enough money to get by. Karthick and his family have had to go without food for many meals, as they just didn’t have enough money. In spite of the unpredictable situation at home, the long distance to and from school, the displacement of their community every monsoon and the poverty-stricken situation of his parents, Karthick was able to study and complete his Tenth Standard in a government-run school. However, if Karthick were to depend on his parents for his education, the future looks very bleak for him.

Both his parents fish for living and are sometimes gone for months at a time, leaving Karthik and his three sisters to take care of themselves.
 

So here he was, a young man ready to do something with his future but not able to study because his family cannot afford to send him to College. When I ask him why he wants to join IID Community College, Karthick says that because he is the only male child in his family, he wants to be able to study and get a job where he will earn well and take care of his family, and in the future, he wants to be able to help others who are in similar situations as him. When we first started talking, Karthick’s eyes hardly left the floor, but as we continued talking about what he wanted to do with his life, even though he was still shy, his eyes were filled with longing and hope, knowing that studying in IID could change his future.

So now, dear Reader, you know a little bit about Karthick. However, more importantly, if you do feel like you want to help change the course of his future, then please do get in touch with us at IID Community Colleges.  A little support can achieve much.  

There are many other young men and women like Karthick who would appreciate your support. Do get in touch with IIDA (email address below)for further details. 


  •  Help us raise his 1 year course cost: 12 x INR 3,500 (EUR 50/CHF 60/USD 63)
  • Help with any one time donation
  • Email us: support@iida-india.org
  • If you wish you can correspond directly with Karthick through above Email ID;
  • Our staff will print and forward your message and send his reply.

     Thank you very much on behalf of Karthick and his family!

Beauty Beyond Colour



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The following pictures were taken for the Dark Is Beautiful Campaign, for an article that Kavita Emmanuel, the Director of Women of Worth (WOW), wrote for the The Weekend Leader.com. 

The boys were in high spirits and it was a fun challenge to try and get their pictures for this campaign. We were trying to convey the idea that beauty is beyond colour - that no matter what your skin colour is, it shouldn't make a difference to WHO you are. The amazing thing about kids is that colour, size or language don't affect them. Our kids are the next generation. What are we going to do about the future of this country? How can I make a difference? One way is through teaching my son good values - and it is hard, believe me, to be consistent in teaching your children. It means that I have to be consistent! Ack! Most times it is easy to tell my son to do something, but when he decides not to listen to me or finds it difficult to do what I ask him to do, then its up to me to help him or to be consistent with him. Its especially difficult when I'm out or when people are around, and I have to be consistent in guiding him or disciplining him - NO MATTER what the others around me think!

When it comes to making our children think differently about skin colour and different prejudices in society, WE might face discomfort or contempt from our peers. How are WE going to handle it? Do we believe in these issues strong enough to face some challenges? Let us make a difference. Let's BE the change. Not just be supporters of change, but MAKE a difference. These are 'action words' - it may require us to get out of our 'comfort zone', but if that is what it takes to make this country a more tolerant country, then let's do it!

Ok, so that was my passionate outburst :) Here are some pictures for you to look through.







Taran's older sister Diya was a big help in entertaining the boys and getting them to look at the camera - so I've included a few of her pictures as well. Kids can teach us so much about having fun together, and not caring about WHO we are or WHAT we look like, but just to ACCEPT each other as we are!


Let me know your thoughts! 

Zara : Baby Portrait



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It looks like my recent posts have been about couples, so here is a post to break the trend :) Here you will see some pictures from a recent baby shoot of little Zara. You will in fact, be seeing more pictures of her - I also did Zara's three month photo shoot - this is her 7 month shoot - and you will probably more photos until she turns 1 :)

Zara is such a cutie pie. When I went to meet her for the first time, at her 3 month shoot, Zara didn't trust my camera too much - she observed the camera curiously, but didn't feel comfortable enough to smile at this black, noisy machine that was intruding her peaceful life! This time, however, at Zara's 7 month photo shoot, she was much more relaxed and was a treat to photograph. She allowed us to change her so many times without too much of a fuss.Zara had a little nap and a bite to eat in-between the shots, so she was quite content for most of the shoot.

I look forward to photographing her and watching her grow and develop. She is a fun baby, and has lovely parents! We had a good time at this shoot together - I must also say thanks to Zara's grandma for helping to bring a smile on Zara's face for the photos :)






Abby & Terry : Wedding



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It's been too long since I blogged about anything - so here are some pictures of Abby & Terry's wedding. It was a fun wedding - and ran very smoothly in spite of one or two small *ahem* hiccups - for example, the vintage car breaking down on the way to the reception!. However, I think all that just added to the uniqueness of that lovely day.

Abby & Terry are two wonderful people, and I am so happy for them and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for them!


Pearl & Lewis : Wedding



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 It was such an honour for me to be the 'official' photographer at Pearl and Lewis' wedding. Pearl and I both studied at the same school (Hebron) and we had a pretty special connection: Pearl's sister and my sister were best friends at school, and my best friend's sister and Pearl were best friends :) I was a Prefect in my last year of boarding school, and I actually remember putting her and her classmates to bed at one point (that was one of our duties as prefects :)) So anyway, I was very excited to be given this opportunity!

The experience was one-of-a-kind, and I am putting up a few pictures from the wedding - I hope you enjoy them!

I asked Pearl if they would like to add some extra titbits of information which you will see below in her words.







Obed & Shalomie : Engagement



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I had so much fun taking pictures of my brother, Obed and his lovely fiance Shalomie. I am so happy for them - and its pretty amazing the way God brought them together - I was and am so surprised to see how well they fit together - even though they've only known each other for a little while. I know God puts two people together, but I am amazed every time I see how well suited people are for each other!




Larry & Roshin : Engagement



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 I always love a good story - especially a good love story :) I also love my job because I am getting to know so many new people! Larry and Roshin are such a lovely couple. We had a great early morning shoot :) Thankfully the sun was just rising and it wasn't too hot yet.

Larry came all the way across the world, from America to India, wanting to become a priest in the Mar Thoma church. Little did he know that he would marry the daughter of his mentor! Larry and Roshin were very sweet throughout the whole shoot - even though it was getting so hot by the end of it! I could also tell that they were the kind of people that would give their very best to everything they do, as they tirelessly posed for some of the shots until we got it right :)

So to begin with, we started with the formal wear - and they were such good sports, even when Roshin's heels were sinking in the sand and the water threatened to ruin their clothes!




Aparna : Personal Portrait



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I had the honour of writing an article for the Women of Worth Organisation, who is running the Dark is Beautiful Campaign. This month, we focused our 'photo story' on Aparna Nagesh.


Aparna Nagesh is the founder of Showstoppers INC - an arts promotion and event concept brand and the founder of High-Kicks - Chennai’s first and only all-girls performance crew. She has now been in the dance and entertainment industry for over 14 years and she loves it to the core. However, Aparna knows that it is not easy to hold your own when performing in a field where what you look like determines how far you will succeed – especially when you are not fair, tall, slim and therefore not ‘beautiful’.  

In case you haven't read it already, do read the rest of the article and let me know what you think. I don't want to repeat myself here, but I do want to feature some of the photos from that shoot, so the purpose of this blog post will be for showcasing the photos of Aparna Nagesh.


Charis : Baby Shoot



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I know its been TOO long since I posted on my blog, but better late than never :) I don't want my blog to control my life, but I DO want you all to have a look at my pictures whenever you get a chance, so I'm posting a few pictures now from the latest baby photo shoot.

I don't remember visiting Avadi before, so I left a lot earlier than I needed to, thinking I need to get there on time, only to be there too early! Thankfully Charis had just woken up from her nap and was just going for a bath. She was such a cutie - and was one of the 'smiliest' babies I've seen yet!

I hope you like these pictures:

Mother's Day



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Mother's Day is coming up on May 8th. Would you like to make something special for your mom? Something that she can keep for many years to come? Have a look at the Mother's Day Offer on my 'Specials' page:

http://zipporaphotography.blogspot.in/p/specials.html

The Amanda of the 80's :)



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This post is on an 80’s inspired photo shoot. And I know of no one more supportive of the 80’s than Amanda! J She was the perfect person to model for this shoot. Her taste in music, clothes etc. all stem from her love of the 80’s. Amanda is one of the most creative people I know. She’s a wonderful artist, and it seems that anything she touches becomes slightly more stylish and ‘artsy’ – and I’m NOT talking about her husband, Arpit here, of course! :p  


I had been wanting to try out a newspaper backdrop for this shoot, but when editing the photos, I thought that in keeping with the style of the 80’s, the photos needed some ‘pop’ so I added some extra colour effects… I hope you like what I’ve done with these…


Do you think these photos convey the 80's 'spirit'?

Wardrobe courtesy: Dorothy, her sister, and the Tewes and Grams gals (even though they didn't know it!:))




The Stephens :)



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It's been a while since my last family portrait. I'm happy to be posting pictures of another beautiful family :) I know Rabin and Shireen though our church, Powerhouse, and they wanted to get a family photo done as they hadn't had one done after Annika was born.

Here is a family photo of them in their living room:



Revathi



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It's been a while now since my last post, but I've had a lot of editing work to do :) I've been really wanting to do a 'themed' photo shoot, with some props, etc, and I really wasn't sure how or when or what it would be. I'm so grateful for my friend Revathi, who was such a beautiful model and so willing to work with me :)

When I knew that I was going to be doing a photo session with Revathi, I thought it would be so lovely to do a 'vintage' themed shoot. Revathi is one of those people who thinks they actually belong in another time :), and so she seemed perfect for the vintage idea. 

I shall also make use of this opportunity to just say that I am so blessed to have a friend like Revathi in my life. She is a good friend, and has been a big source of encouragement to me. I admire the way she is so confident about who she is, and how she is very sure about what she knows and believes in - be it the way a person addresses a woman, or  how one should prepare a certain dish ;)

 I brought a few things from home for the shoot, and wasn't really sure how we were going to do this, but then I walked into the bedroom and saw Revathi and Sean's beautiful vintage table and it was just perfect! She also had a lovely crockery set which would set the mood nicely. Revathi was also a big help in giving me some of her ideas as to what she could wear... the thought of her wearing a Sari had never crossed my mind, but when she mentioned it, I thought it would add a nice touch!

Here are a few pictures. Hope you enjoy them :)



Terrace Time



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I've decided to join the Chic Critique Forum’s 52 week project, and I thought I'll combine this post with a few pics of Matt I took this evening.

It had been a while since I took  Matt up to the terrace, and he really needed to get out today, so I took him and his bicycle up to our apartment's terrace, and took my camera along as well.



Priyanka



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Here's a post that I've been wanting to put up for a while now, and  I'm so excited about these pictures! A little over a month ago, we were invited to an Arangetram of our friend's daughter. It was the first time that I had been to one and we were quite excited to go. I thought I would take my camera 'just in case', and I'm so glad that I did! I asked Vasanthi, Priyanka's mother, whether it was okay for me to take some pictures, and she said it was no problem.  I had taken my 50 mm lens, because I knew that I would be able to get some sharp, clear images even in low light, but I needn't have worried, because the stage lights were very nice! I wasn't sure whether I could sit up front, but there were a few empty seats in the front row, so I went and sat down and took my pictures from there.

From the beginning to the end, I was so amazed at Priyanka's talent and stamina! As I watched, the grace of her dances, the expressions on her face, the intricate footwork, the story-telling through her dances - they all captivated me, and I was so happy to have my camera there and be able to capture a few moments from that evening. It was a 2-hour dance recital, and we all really enjoyed the evening.  I hope you enjoy these pictures!



Musician in the Making?



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So, as I focus on people in my world and in my life and in my city, there is one little person who is so special to me :) My son, Matthias, came into our lives a little over two years ago, and completely turned our world upside down! Many people say that marriage is a huge change in your life, etc, and yes, it is, but having a baby ...well, thats a whole different ball game!

Being a mother (a mother - I still can't believe it sometimes!), has changed me so much. I think at heart, we are pretty selfish, and having a baby changes all that. You learn to put your little one's needs ahead of your own. When Matt was still a few weeks old, I swear I felt a physical tug in my body every time he cried. It was like there was almost a physical bond between us... it was such an amazing feeling - well, and a little tiring, because I kept jumping up in the night every time I heard him cry! :)  The first three months were some of the most difficult times in my life, but somehow, God's grace helped us through it.

And today, I am going to post a few pictures of Matt. I have titled this post 'Musician in the Making?' because ever since he was little, Matt has loved music. At first whenever we went to church he would run to the stage and want to play with the guitar - we had to literally hold him back, many times. His love for the guitar turned into a love for the drums, and even now, Matt loves to take out his drumsticks and drum away on anything he can find at home. I've had to hide the snare drum(!) my father-in-law bought for Matt, because he would've driven the neighbours (and us) up the wall. 

Anyways, here are a few pictures of Matt that I took while experimenting with some flash photography. I'm still learning a lot, and I still have so much to learn, but I would appreciate your comments and feedback on these pictures :) I wish I had taken the time to iron out the green cloth behind him - but I was too much in a hurry to check out the flash, and I thought I would leave it as it is, SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera) and see what you guys think of it.

p.s. today my facebook page completes 6 months! Have a look at the page and take a moment to 'like' the page if you like my work! Thanks a lot!







 I love the effect on this last picture - it was taken at a slower shutter speed and this is Matt in motion! :)

The stories of our lives



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I was thinking yesterday about how all our lives are made up of stories. Sad stories, fun stories, embarrassing stories and happy stories. We all have them... and those stories are what makes us who we are. I can think of so many hundreds, or maybe even thousands of stories that make up my life. And I think photographers have also started this trend of shooting in 'bursts'. What that means is, you take a series of photos continuously to catch a short story rather than a moment.


For example:


Joel



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So after focussing on a couple of ladies, this past week I thought it was maybe time to put up some pictures of a guy :)

This post is about a friend called Joel. These photos were taken for Joel's cd cover and inserts - you can see his album cover here.

I would like to mention a few things about Joel that challenge me. Joel puts his heart and soul into everything he does. I had the privilege of being able to sing for two of his concerts, and I was so amazed at how he was able to get his dream idea of a concert into reality. I remember him talking about how he wanted his concert to be a certain way, and he had very specific ideas about certain things. To be honest, I didn't take him seriously, but I was so impressed at how the concert was exactly how he had planned it to be - as much as I knew about it, anyway.




Lady in the Limelight



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Lady in the Limelight

I was hoping to get this post out earlier - in fact, I had a couple of other ladies lined up for my blog posts this week, but I realised it was all too much to take on. I shall, however, blog about the other two ladies sometime soon :)

Today's Lady in the Limelight is Marsha. In fact, she and I worked on a blog post together a few days ago for the event of Women's Day. Marsha is an AMAZING cook, and has a charming little blog called The Harried Cook with lots of do-able recipes with yummy results! I admire Marsha so much for the many hats that she wears - not literally, of course - Marsha in a hat would be quite an interesting sight... :) What I mean is, that she plays so many different roles - wife, mother, cook, singer, pastor's wife, dog-lover, English dictionary - ahem, I mean English teacher/trainer, curriculum writer for kids in her church... and the list goes on. These are only some of the things that I know about anyway. I remember a few years ago, some of us friends (it was mainly my husband's idea) decided to invent a new word and try and slip it into our conversation to see if she would notice. After a few attempts of us using the word in all the possible ways that it could make sense, she saw through it straight away! We always go to her if we have any questions about our English grammar, etc :)

Marsha is a great mom, her beautiful daughter, Aimee, and my son Matt are only three months apart, and it was so comforting to have her as a friend especially throughout my pregnancy and Matt's first year. Here's a photo of them when they were just 7 and 10 months old.



Woman of Worth - women's day special :)



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Lady in the Limeleight

Ok, so I know that its not women's day yet ... there are still 3 more days to go. However, I wanted to focus a bit on a few women who are changing their worlds a little by little, day by day,  in their own way...

Today's spotlight is going to shine on Kavita - a good friend, mom, fellow band-mate, lover of life, lover of laughs (her laugh will not fail to make you smile:)), and the list goes on... !

 Here are a few pictures of Kavi I took a while ago:




Elijah



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Black and whites...



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In December, a few friends from church went to a place nearby called Aruwe. ARUWE is a Public Charitable Trust run by a group of committed social work professionals who are concerned about the welfare of the elderly destitute and deprived children, and we wanted to go over there and do a small Christmas program for them, so I was asked to come along and take some pictures which they could also use for their publicity material. I did post about it earlier as one of the Christmas In Chennai' posts.

In this post I've converted the pictures of the elderly widows into black and white and I just loved the effect! 

The ladies that gave me permission to take their pictures were so happy to have their pictures taken, and were excited to see their faces on the LCD screen.  


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