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Breaking Caste

Photos: India's school for outcaste girls through the eyes of the students Add to ...

When the Globe and Mail visits Prerna school in Danapur, the girls have a special fascination with the photographer and her cameras.

They have rarely been photographed by their families, and at most have seen low-resolution cellphone pictures of themselves. So the images - and the process - are of great interest.

On our last visit, reporter Stephanie Nolen handed over her own Canon Rebel Ti camera - and before she could provide even rudimentary lessons in how it works, a group of students had snatched it up and ran off. They photographed frantically for the next three days and their own portraits offer a quirky window into their world.

They took pictures of the most intimate scenes of life at school - clapping games and lice checks and hugs - but mostly what they wanted to photograph was each other.

A few girls emerged as the most enamored of the camera, and they took hundreds of close-up pictures of their closest friends, as if determined to document that they are really there, that this magical transformative moment in their lives is really happening.