Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Seaside morning

Women in the southern Indian village of Ennore gather at the well to collect water for their families.

Some images remain with me not so much for what happened in the moment of capture, but what transpired afterward. Here's a photo I took on December 19, 2004. A Sunday morning in the quiet Indian seaside village of Ennore, north of Chennai. I had gone there a few days earlier to document some Methodist Bible Women, and had really liked the village's ambience and the people's friendliness. Since I had the following Sunday morning unscheduled, I took a translator and went back at sunrise, and spent three or four hours just walking around, taking photos of normal life: women washing dishes, a man shaving, children playing. These women were filling up their water jugs at a communal pump. Exactly one week later, on the following Sunday morning, the tsunami hit Ennore, by all accounts demolishing the village's homes. Some of the residents reportedly made it safely to shelters, others did not. The day the tsunami struck, I was back in the U.S., having just flown home. Within a day I was on my way back, headed to nearby Sri Lanka. But I've often thought of the people who graciously let me intrude in their lives that quiet morning. And of course I've wondered if any of them survived. I've since been back to Chennai but didn't get time to return to Ennore. One of these days, perhaps before the tenth anniversary of the wave, I'll make some prints and head back to see who I can find.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *