Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Secret Life of Children

Lurlena, Sturgeon, Missouri. From “The Secret Life of Children”

“In this picture, Lurlena cries in the back of the family car after losing the contest for Carnival Princess at her school. She spent the day getting ready, with a new white dress and new shoes. The winner was decided based on whose parents bought the most tickets, and Lurlena’s family could only afford eight dollars worth. This moment breaks my heart, and I’m sure Lurlena understood just how unfair life could be. It was amazing to be this deep into her life that she didn’t care about being photographed.”

“Many of my days are spent driving around, hoping to find feature pictures for the paper. During graduate school, I met a kid, Dacota, on one of those drives, and there was something magical about him. Gradually I became more involved with his life, and started spending time with his extended family of cousins who lived in Sturgeon. Mo., a small town about an hour outside of Columbia. Working on this project was in some ways the opposite of newspaper work. I had no definite sense of the “story” I was covering, just a feeling of wonder and a certain freedom to make whatever pictures I wanted to. The story of the secret lives of these children slowly unfolded. I was immediately accepted into the family, and could come and go whenever I had the time. This is the story I dream of returning to, over and over again, as the kids get older. In all of this chaos there are these quiet, reflective moments that resonate with me.”

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