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Back to the blog...India & Russia

A year and a half between posts is way too long! It wasn't intentional by any means. I do like to write. Working several jobs however has taken its toll on my free time, or should I say lack thereof. So consider this a catch-up post. I did travel last year and so there are really two events to share. 

May 2013 I spent a month in India. From the arid North with a dry but energy-sapping triple digit heat to the tropical south where just walking outside caused the sweat to pour. It was an eye-opening experience. The colors are like you imagine in the brightly colored clothing, and the spices in the market. The insanely crazy traffic and hundreds of thousands of people however are not something you can truly know until you are in the middle of it. As a foreigner you are always being watched but there is also a friendly curiosity. Everyone wants your Photo and everyone has a camera phone. It was unusual being on the other end of the camera at times but we were able to use it to start many conversations.

The Vfcc team just outside the Taj Mahal looking at one of the other 
structures on the property during a sandstorm raging up the river 
in the background.

NOTE: my new masthead image for this blog also came from this portion 
of the trip while visiting a village in Uttar Pradesh.
The first 10-days I traveled with a great group of young people from VFCC. We learned first-hand about the culture in Northern India. We visited several sites in New Delhi and in Uttar Pradesh. We did a lot of praying and talking to people, learning first hand what it is like in a Hindu / Muslim culture. We visited the largest Mosque in that part of Asia, the Taj Mahal and did a 13-mi prayer walk at the birth place of Krishna (and no we weren't chanting Hari Krishna rather praying for the area). We learned a little Hindi, ate lots of Indian food and experienced life on that side of the world. I am thankful for this time because it prepared me for the remainder of the trip. After the team left bound for the states, one of my students, Autumn and I flew to the south.

At the last Hope Center of many that we visited on this leg of the trip in Pune.
Immediately after leaving the airport in Chennai we could see and feel the difference of the South...palm trees and humidity, a little bit calmer traffic, a few churches and a more laid back atmosphere. For the next couple weeks we traveled in Chennai, Mumbai and Pune, not seeing a single Western face, documenting Stories of hope for OneHope, an organization I have long been associated with. We traveled out of the city to small villages, as well as into several slums and it never ceases to amaze me the places that you find God at work. It is always such a privilege and honor to document the stories of others. Here is one story we came across of a young boy born blind that received his sight as a result of the hearing the gospel and believing. However there are so many that I can't even begin to tell even a fraction of the stories we encountered here but I often see and remember them when I close my eyes at night. The thing that always leaves me with hope is when I meet the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to reach the children and youth of their area and there were many on this trip. I know I left with a greater understanding for that part of the world and those trying to reach it. I am not sure when, but I had a strong sense while riding in the back of a taxi through the congested streets of Mumbai that I would return one day...even as culture shock and fatigue were having their way with me.

Photo taken by Andrey Kovalev, also a 
Communications alum from Regent 
University who I had the pleasure 
of meeting in St. Petersburg.
Russia always seems to be a place of new beginnings for me. At least that has been the trend. I taught my first Photography class in Russia five years ago, then not long after the doors opened up for me in the US to teach photography at the University level at VFCC. This time I was invited back to speak at a media seminar in Nov 2013. Really it was a dream come true. Actually it was beyond my know the kind you have tucked away that you don't dare utter, but you know when they happen it is a God-thing. I was one of three speakers at this media seminar in St. Petersburg for those in the church who wanted to strengthen their media skills. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the participants did as well. I spoke about story-telling in Photography and told many stories from my travels as well as how to capture them. I also spoke about Info graphics and how to create them. Then we flew to Perm where I taught several more master classes and had a little bit of time to dream about the future. I am not sure where some of these things will lead but it felt like catching my breath after a very hectic fall semester which in turn gave me the necessary push to carry on when I got back. 

VFCC's first photography Student, Autumn Granger and I at her senior show. 
The photos in the background to the left are from the India trip specifically
of the story link from above. Photo taken by another up-and-coming
VFCC photography major Jenessa Tomassacci.
Even now at the end of my spring semester remembering that time gives me hope for the future. This summer I will spend time developing a few classes for a new Graphic Design major at VFCC. The first 4-year photography major is graduating with several more to come. Ideas are flowing once again. I am excited to see what will happen next. 

As a good friend wrote me just after this trip, "with each new journey comes a greater level of anointing". I believe that for my life but also for my students as well.

This post first appeared on Kim Clark / Photography And Design, please read the originial post: here

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Back to the blog...India & Russia


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