Faces of India… taking time to look into the eyes of a stranger

11.08.11 :: posted by Erin

During each of Shane’s adventures abroad I most look forward to seeing imagery from his trips. Many times I find myself waiting until the wee hours of the morning just to hear the DING that says a new email has arrived. I check my mail and there it is, that paperclip by the subject line that tells me new images await me! I lOVE IT! I quickly open each email and look at the images over and over studying the subjects in his newest creations.

While I love seeing landscapes and environmental imagery, to me, it is the people I am most interested in seeing. Something I admire about the portraiture Shane takes while traveling is that he will always (unless it’s just not possible) ask the person or family if they would allow him to photograph them and with their consent, he does. That means that every person, family or couple we see has somehow communicated with Shane and is choosing to share a part of their story with us!

As Shane takes their picture the image becomes a combination of what Shane sees through his “visiting eyes” and the way they see themselves. Many times he’ll turn the camera to show them a preview of the image as they share in a smile or laugh. I believe it’s life-changing to be able to look into the eyes of people around the world. Who are they? What’s their story? What are their dreams? Their hopes? Their fears? I find it hard to look into someone else’s eyes, someone you don’t know, who you may never meet, and not ask those questions.

Before attending a conference, Jeff, Scott and Shane walked to a local “gypsy” encampment located a couple blocks away. The difference between the type of impoverishment seen at this location as opposed to others is that this gypsy group chooses to have nothing. At one area an elderly man kept repeating “we have nothing, we have nothing.”

The haze you see in the background of these images is not a camera or editing effect, is it the dust that is blowing through the area. The air was extremely dry and some from the team were really suffering from allergies.

A Gypsy mom with her son…

Washing clothes…

Not really sure what this guy was doing but I think it had something to do with shaping bowls?

Shane with some of the locals. They had fun taking this image together!

  1. Kristie says:

    I agree completely, Erin, about loving photos with faces. Shane has captured some wonderful ones. The little girl in her brightly colored outfit and shy smile is lovely.

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Arrival in India and a Quick Walk Around

11.06.11 :: posted by Erin

After a few airport delays (although nothing like the first part of the trip) we made it to India. On a side note, they have one of the nicest airports I have ever seen and are extremely efficient but with their population you would think so. It was nice to have a few hours downtime to clean up a little, catch up on some sleep and absorb the culture before heading to our first meeting that evening.

As much as I can try to explain India; the culture, sights, smells, traffic… unless you experience it it’s almost impossible to completely get. What I was surprised to find is that almost everyone I approached loved having their picture taken…
and that made me love them all the more:)

Most of the images in this post are were taken in a 45 minute walk that Jeff and I took within a few blocks of where our hotel was…and to be honest, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The above shopping center is right next to where the the two images below were taken.

The gentlemen below started smoking a hookah pipe after this image. I did get an image of that also but I liked this one a little better.

These girls could not stop laughing.

The girls’ mother…


Interestingly enough, this boy was one of the very few people we have come across this far into the trip that speaks English.

Restroom stalls. This may make for interesting conversations.

Pigs and cows seemed to be everywhere!

Don’t ask, I just liked this chicken.

  1. kim says:

    love the picts. praying for you guys and can’t wait to hear all about it! ;)

  2. Gorgeous series of images! I especially like the shot of the guy mending the bicycle spokes…theres something in his eyes…

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Looking out on Nairobi

11.02.11 :: posted by Erin

More images from our visit to Africa with Martin and Possibilities Africa… these shots below are taken from the top of one of the tallest buildings in downtown Nairobi!

Imagery Note: Paul and Collins, both work with PA and are great guys. Then spent a lot of time with us touring us around and giving us a lot of information about Nairobi.

Imagery Note: On the right is the largest slum in Nairobi where thousands upon thousands of people live well below the poverty level. On the left is an upper-class area and all the separates the two is a street. The reason for this is because a lot of people who live in the slum work for the rich and since walking is the main mode of transportation they need to live close.

Below is Martin, Director of Possibilities Africa right before a board meeting we attended…

A few of the people at the morning business seminar we spoke at. Many are young Kenyan’s that are fairly new in business. They asked a lot of great questions and I was incredibly impressed with their communication skills and their drive to succeed!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the updates so far! As we now leave Africa, the next time you hear from me it will be from India!

  1. amber says:

    Shane, I’m loving that you’re wearing a Nebraska shirt all over the globe. Way to represent!

  2. Shane Melenbacker says:

    Ha Ha, that shirt has been with me on multiple trips and four continents!

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A Full Day In Africa and Duck-Duck-Goose

11.01.11 :: posted by Erin

After a rain soaked night in Nairobi, the town of Narok and the Masai village were on the agenda. We started our day with a wonderful breakfast, including my first full blown encounter with Kenyan coffee. I’ve found Kenyan coffee is similar to Kona coffee from Hawaii, it’s hard to get the real stuff unless your at that location. Most of what we get in the states is a partial mix of the real deal.

If you have never traveled out of the United States, you may not realize that one of your more adventuresome experiences my include experiencing how the locals drive. I can tell you Kenya is no exception! On the way out of Nairobi I think we were involved in about 10 “near misses” and also witnessed a man dead on the side of the road from being hit. The rule of the road here is the larger vehicle has the right-away.

After making it through the city we were able to experience the beautiful Kenyan country side including the Rift Valley…

Imagery Note: The Rift Valley on the way to Narok. Interesting fact is that this is where most of Kenya’s elite marathon runners train.

…and some of the villages in the area.

Imagery Note: These boys loved to pose and then run around to see their image on the back on my camera!

Imagery Note: A classroom I was able to visit.

The images below are of school children playing a game of Duck-Duck-Goose. This game is everywhere and these kids were FAST!

Imagery Note: This guy loved to pose! Here’s one where he stopped and was laughing at himself.

Once in Narok, we arrived at a local church to participated in a leadership seminar that Possibilities Africa arranged for the Masai pastors and leaders. Since walking is the main form of transportation and it had been raining for days, expectations for a large turnout had dwindled. That was until we arrived! You may notice in the image below that there are only two cars, one of them being ours. This is because everyone else walked to get here. One pastor walked miles in mud to make the trip because his bike wouldn’t make it on the washed out roads. The result was a very successful day spent with some wonderful people.

A couple images from the leadership seminar…

  1. Marlene Mika says:

    What an amazing photo journal – your work is incredible, allowing me to feel as if I am on the other side of the lens seeing these people and sights myself …God has certainly given a good gift!, thank you for sharing it so that your viewers might be touched in spirit and heart by people and communities they may never encounter face to face…”good on ya!” as a friend says..

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Arrival in Kenya

10.29.11 :: posted by Shane

The internet connection has been a little rough during the first couple days of Shane’s trip but I finally have a few images to share with you from his first day and arrival in Kenya!

“What can I say about today besides TRAVEL!!!

After 8,901 miles and over 24 hours of travel we made it to Nairobi Kenya. No major incidents today which is a bit of a change from yesterday’s excitement. We all had isle seats and lots of movies to watch, books to read or sleeping to catch up on. Since I have never really been able to sleep on planes I mostly partook of the first two.

It was nice to arrive in Kenya on time and see Martin and some of the others from the Possibilities Africa team. Oh wait, I guess we did have one bit of excitement if you can call it that. One of our team member’s luggage didn’t make it. Fortunately it was the only piece of checked luggage and we think it’s all due to the first flight being canceled. We’re hoping it arrives tomorrow, for all or our sakes :)

Imagery Note: Our group ready to start our first day in Kenya!

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