Sticks and Stones
For over thirty years I have photographed a particular social and cultural group of children. Before my eyes and in front of my camera they have passed through adolescence into young adulthood. My goal throughout has been to portray not how the world sees them, but how they see themselves.
The Sticks and Stonesphotography series began four years ago with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother and I were catching up when she told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking, I was reminded of another couple many years ago, who had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me that in both couples in the face of their derision and their refusal to let others define them.
Today micro-aggression and ignorance continue to play a role in society. As a response to this resurgence of bigotry and hate, I began photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. In their own handwriting, I added the negative comments they have been subjected to at the bottom of the images as a reminder of how part of society sees them.
I continue to photograph these couples because this dangerous attitude and belief continues to permeate society and grow stronger in some segments of society and the world. I hope my photographs will resonate with viewers who think the problem has diminished over the years. I want these photographs to start conversations, to cause people to reflect on their reaction to interracial couples and their offspring and to even change minds.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” old English nursery rhyme