12 years of Juna Akhara media-seva: 2004-2016
When I first tried to give cameras to the women, many of them seemed nervous to try making excuses like “But I don’t know how to take pictures.” or “I’ve never done this before, I won’t be any good.” But they were lining up for cameras, once I put it this way: “You tell me everyday in your sadhana you meet god, and you don’t think you can learn to use a camera?”
Most (travel) photographers who venture to the Kumbh Mela, India or any where foreign to them in general, tend to photograph anonymously. That is, it’s quite the norm to take pictures of people with out knowing who they are, much less actually consider what's in it for the subject. Furthermore few photographers make considerable effort to give a copy of the image to their subject.
Something very important to Ascetics with Cameras mission is ensuring the ascetics receive the photos they pose for.
“In a way I’ve also acted as somewhat like a liaison between the babas and other foreigners with cameras. I also make sure to give them my card with email so they can email me the photo and I can print it for them, trying to explain to them how important it is for them, at least they can get something out of it. I have begun to see more and more photographers giving their photos back to their subjects. I certainly hope this trend picks up.” – program director, Nicole Jaquis
Ascetics with Cameras (free of cost to the receiver) gives prints to the ascetics photographed (by a various photographers using digital cameras), during the Kumbh Mela and thereafter.