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We went to Sri Lanka and India to learn. But this was not classroom learning. Instead, we were hoping to make the same mythic journey that friends who had gone on earlier trips to South Asia had told us about. We hoped to experience the energy and stimulation of India and Sri Lanka as fully as we could through sharing village life for a few days through home stays and through observing the work of selfless village development programs, Buddhist Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka and the Hindu Sarvodaya Ashram in Gujurat, where volunteers worked tirelessly to improve the lives of villagers. And everywhere we wanted to be open to letting the sensual colors and smells and flavors and presence of people touch us with their intensity.
These photographs are my response to the stimulation of Sri Lankan and Indian village and urban life. When I made them I wasn't trying to create a documentary of the organizations we visited or to make a statement of any kind about either country or about our experience. The photographs are not "of" anything. They are simply my private response to the ordinary, marvelous things that touched me as I walked down the street. Others in the group responded to other people and places. Most of the photographs are of the people of Sri Lanka and India who moved me, not by what or who they were, but simply by their presence as fellow human beings living their ordinary lives in Varanasi or Bhuj, as I live mine in Swannanoa, just as ordinary and just as amazing.
I grew up in India where my parents were Presbyterian agricultural missionaries and have taught at Warren Wilson College most of my life. My photographs are of north India and Sri Lanka where I have traveled many times; of Germany, which is my wife, Kathe's, home; and of the Swannanoa Valley and Asheville, North Carolina and of students and staff at Warren Wilson College, in Swannanoa just outside Asheville. Lately I have also been photographing weddings at Hidden River Events.