I Dreamed I Had a Girl in My Pocket
This unique book of photographs and stories takes place in the 2,000-year-old village of Vichya in the desert of Gujarati, India. There, photographer and teacher Wendy Ewald lived and taught twenty of the village's children, ages ten to fourteen years, the art and craft of photography. Whether they attend school or work the fields, whether they are untouchables or of another caste, the children speak chillingly of their concern over their impending marriages and stories of bride-burning, of their hopes and dreams, and of their almost unanimous desire to photograph the gods.
“Watching the children, I felt as if I, too, were learning photography for the first time. The developing tank, the reels, and the changing bag once again became magical instruments. Watching the children stand up straight under the camera’s pressure, I remembered how I felt when I had my first camera hung over my shoulder, how it conferred authority, masking my shyness. My students lived in a society based on self-effacement; as children and villagers, they were the least esteemed of all. But they told me that when they ‘caught their cameras’ and decided what to photograph, they felt proud.”
“Ms. Ewald was one of the first—and remains the most committed—artists to bring photography into the lives of children who have little else.”
—Taylor Holliday, Wall Street Journal
“Together with Ewald, the children (most of whom had never seen a camera before) built a darkroom out of brick and concrete in the front yard of the local barber and, using water caught from a spigot, developed their pictures under ‘God’s bulb’—their name for the darkroom’s red safelight. Their powerful portraits (and Ewald’s) and the stories they tell about everyday life reveal not only Ewald’s close attachment to her young students, but their ability to see far more than shadow and light.”
“Provocative images which highlight both the beauty and the misfortune of India as a whole: a fascinating and beautiful book."
—East: The Voice of the East in Britain