Come discover the “Faces of India,” the photography of Robert Bixler, in an exhibit hanging in the art gallery on the second floor of the School of Communication through Sept. 18.
The images portray a land filled with vivid colors and people—from mischievous children to female construction workers clad in saris—portraits of young and old smiling despite impoverished conditions.
However, it is the man behind the lens, Bixler, who elicits the smiles with his gentle charm. Each photograph is a story and in the retelling it is evident that the people of India have captured his heart.
“There is a special energy to be found in the faces of the people of India. Each of these photos contains a special story, an emotional conversation with people whose lives are so different than the lives we live in the U.S.” Bixler said. “Each is a reminder of the richness found in reaching out into a world of difference that links us to the lives of others, our neighbors on this tiny planet we call home.”
Bixler lived in India in 2007 for seven months and photographed Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians from the farthest north to the most extreme south of the country.
“From state to state the local language is different, the dress is different, the food is different, the culture is different. India is incredibly rich in its diversity,” Bixler explained.
He continues to return to India annually for about three months of the year. Bixler and his partner adopted a village in northern India called Ladakh and established a non-profit organization, the Ladakhi Childrens Schooling Project, to provide educational resource scholarships to village children from subsistence farming families.
“We were looking for something to give back to India for the incredible experience,” he said. “Every day I stepped out of the house, confronted with more need than I could do anything about, and I thought, I can’t deal with all the poverty but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something. It’s like there are stair steps missing and maybe I can be the one to bridge that gap.”
Bixler will discuss his work and his life in India at 4 p.m. Sept. 2 at the art gallery