Anthrow Circus

From India, With Love and Fire: A Visit

By Amber Kidner

In this regular column, our correspondent Amber Kidner and her camera explore India, one small story at a time.

Just before Christmas I had an opportunity to visit a small school in Delhi.  The school that my children attend had begun to work with this school in various ways.  My assignment was to photograph the children both at work and at play, as they inhabited their educational space on that particular morning. 

As a photographer, I was apprehensive.  I had been told that the classrooms were small and not very bright.  I knew that I would have to increase my ISO and balance my other two key settings (aperture and shutter speed), doing so fairly quickly and in a setting that was new to me.   

But as the morning got underway my apprehension shifted to delight.  The children’s eyes were everywhere beckoning me to turn my gaze and camera on them.  I loved how the students held hands and jostled one another with determination, a certain measure of gentleness, and surprising bodily awareness.  As if to say to one another, “I know you’re here too.”  And as if to say to me, “I am singular.  See me!”

I walked away from that morning in love.  I loved the way many of the children wanted to be seen.  I loved the few who were reluctant and held back.  I loved how the Delhi winter sun was inviting and not punishing so that when it was recess time the students could run around outside.  And I loved how in that gentle sun they kept organizing themselves in groups for me to take one more photo of them.

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When new friends ask her where she’s moved to St Louis from, she gulps and says, “India.” Back in the States after 15 years abroad, Amber Kidner is working to settle her family and discover what this new season of life holds for her. She hopes for personal flourishing and emerging beauty in the lives of those around her. 

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