For over thirty years I have photographed a particular social and cultural group of children in their own environments as an endeavor in portraying them as they see themselves. The children I photograph are neighbors, children of friends or even children who are friends of previous subjects. The distinctiveness of my work is the intimate relationship between my subject and my audience.
To achieve this I concentrate on each subject’s mood or feeling and ask them to place themselves in a comfortable surrounding and at times, to include something that is very personal to them. By utilizing the environmental context in this way I am able to reveal an intimate part of the individual and establish a strong personal connection with them. As a result, the portrait is an honest portrayal of the subjects at this particular moment in their lives and it also serves as a document of this fleeting time. Through the photograph I establish a trusting relationship with the subject and this synergy forms a bond that carries over to the viewer.
I have worked primarily with one subject at a time but over the past couple of years I have been working with siblings or friends or even casual connections of the children. This adds another dimension to the photographs in that the connection between the photographer and the subject must expand and, therefore, the viewer experiences a more layered document.
I am decidedly a photographer and storyteller. The story, as contained within the photograph of each of these children, is told through the details of the environment surrounding them, their stance, the objects they choose to be photographed with and ultimately, their expressions. Within the split second of capturing the photograph all these things are visible and therefore, less fleeting than the actual experience of being an adolescent.