27 May 2012
Last updated at 23:59
The world's largest biometric identity exercise is on its way to reaching its target of half of India's population. Photographer Mansi Thapliyal is creating an "archive of faces" of people enrolling for their 12-digit personal identity number.
The ID number, also called aadhar (foundation), is matched to biometrics - a photograph, 10 fingerprints and two iris scans of the person to whom the number is issued.
Thapliyal found hundreds of men, women and children at one enrolment centre in Delhi where she began taking the pictures.
"I visited many enrolment centres," says Thapliyal. "The local politician would welcome me with snacks and soft drinks, thinking I would write about his efforts to bring the scheme to his area."
"Most of the people who came for their biometrics seemed to be oblivious of how the identity number would help them," the photographer says.
"It takes about 10 minutes for each person to complete the biometrics," says Thapliyal. "I sit through the entire process to shoot one portrait of the subject."
"I would take my picture as the biometric official held a camera up to take a picture of the person's face," says Thapliyal.
"I didn't want the people to pose for me. For the biometric photographs, they were instructed to look straight into the camera and keep their eyes open."
"Looking straight into the camera would sometimes bring about interesting expressions. Some people were clearly not happy that I was taking their pictures too," says Thapliyal. She plans to complete 100 such portraits for her archive of Indians seeking their identity number.
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