Images of India

If you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels, you know the remarkable results that filmmaker Zana Briski achieved when she gave cameras to the children of prostitutes living in the red-light district of Calcutta.

Inspired by Briski, who delivered the second Carr Lecture at the College last fall, David Schlenker ’13 adopted a similar approach in his SEE-Beyond assignment this summer, made possible by a $4,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Interning with the nonprofit Project Why to teach English to fourth- and fifth-graders in South Delhi’s Okhla slums, Schlenker—a history and international affairs dual major—decided to step it up a notch and simultaneously teach the essentials of photography.

The result is a remarkable collection of images, several of them below and dozens more in this brief video.

For each class, Schlenker gave his students a new theme—such as water, plastic, food, or people—around which they would focus their shooting and he would focus their vocabulary development.

“These students and this work have significantly changed my life,” says Schlenker, who plans to pursue a career in education policy and advocacy.  “I now understand the importance of mentorship coupled with foundational education support, and how old ways of teaching can no longer be used to solve our current global and local issues.” 

Posted: 8/10/12