I've sold this photo a couple of times to nonprofits telling stories about the differences in gender roles in indigenous cultures. I met up with this man and his family after negotiating with my guide to spend the day by myself wandering the dirt paths of our village, Touphema, while the rest of our small crew went off to another village for a tour. I wanted to take photos and meet the people, to step out of my role as Tourist and get face to face.
At the time, visitors could only enter Nagaland with a guide, so I was lucky that my guide was flexible and trusting enough to let me wander. Most of the villagers spoke English, and people invited me into their smoky huts, where we squatted on handmade wooden stools around wood fires drinking tea. As the day went slowly by, I met the wife of the king and watched a woman work at her back strap loom. In one courtyard, a group was hand butchering some animal carcasses for the next day's feast. I photographed them for a while until all the blood was just to hard to take anymore.
For an hour a group joined me sitting in the sun on a stone wall,. They asked about American Democracy, and how we settle disputes, and what I think of religion. The Nagas are predominantly Christian, having been converted by missionaries in the late 19th through early 20th centuries. Very large churches dominate the townscape.
One teenager introduced me to her relatives, and showed me the basket-makers coop, a playground, and the place where Elders, the town leaders, sit on stumps in a circle to debate issues.
It was a wonderful day.