Atlanta photographer Gary Chapman has found that even a blind child knows when to smile for the camera. Gary’s first trip to an Indian orphanage and school was in 2014 on assignment from the Central India Christian Mission. During the trip he discovered that the work the orphanage was doing to house and educate blind and deaf children was remarkable. The photos and videos taken on Gary’s first trip were enough to raise sufficient funds to build a new and larger home for the children, most of whom would be begging on the streets without the protection of the home. Gary just returned from a second trip to the orphanage, again hired to get some photos that could raise awareness and funds.
This type of assignment is right up Gary’s alley. He says that focusing on humanitarian issues gives him purpose as a photographer.
I love documenting stories of hope, faith, dignity, growth, and self-reliance. I particularly like to partner with organizations that have these values and have programs where I see the impact. As a photographer, I document these stories to help organizations create more awareness, grow their community of followers, and help them raise thousands of dollars in funds to continue their work.
There is a lot of hope and joy in this place, thanks to all of the passionate work of the teachers and other staff.
Gary says the children could sense the warmth and glow of the sun, even if they could not see it.
Gary’s most recent visit involved meeting and learning about Vishnu, a blind man who has dedicated himself to teaching blind children. Vishnu works at the school, teaching students braille, with his goal being that blind children can get a full education and after their time at the orphanage, will be able to get good jobs in India and abroad.
It became obvious that Vishnu has a heart and determination to see these children rise above their challenges and succeed in life.
Part of the reason for so many blind children in India is that many children are forced into the beggar mafia, where the mafia leaders mutilate them and send them to the streets to gain more sympathy and money. Vishnu’s goal is that blind children will not have to beg. This orphanage and school is fighting to protect them from that.
For his shoots in the orphanage, Gary is conscious to be a “fly on the wall” with his camera. He wants to capture the people and events as they happen, keeping the authenticity of the place for outsiders to see. He is careful not to insert himself or manipulate any situations.
The Central India Christian Mission is using Gary’s photos in print materials and social media to raise money to furnish and staff the new building that their previous fundraiser provided, and Gary looks forward to seeing how much improvement the orphanage will see.