|Nicole Jaquis |
In 2001, twentysomething Nicole Jaquis, who'd grown up down here in Wellington and then moved to Boston, left her job and joined some friends who were making a documentary in India about the Kumbh Mela
-- one of the biggest gatherings on planet Earth, which you've probably never heard of.
After living there for about four months, and watching about 70 million people come down to bathe peacefully together in the Ganges River for the purification ritual, Jaquis was hooked. Though she came back to the States, and worked in New York City as a web designer and teaching multimedia to kids, she kept venturing back to India.
About three years ago, she headed over again -- it was supposed to be for a year, but she hasn't come back since. She's volunteering as a teacher and started her own organization, Ascetics with Cameras
, that gives cameras to women who often have no documentation of their families or culture. Some have never seen a photo of themselves. They are often photographed by tourists and National Geographic shutterbugs, but until now, never had the power to create or control images for themselves.