some pictures from a family that I've been working with recently, the Vincents. The mother, Sherry, has been out of work and struggling since her husband left the family 3 years ago... Cheyenne, her 10-year-old-daughter, has childhood depression.. Ciara, her 7-year-old daughter has ADHD. Sherry works without pay at the local family center in order to get assistance for the home: food stamps, HUD, clothing, and most of all support. Taking care of the girls is a full time job... It is with any parent, especially one trying to fill both parental rolls. I've only been able to photograph them twice, but I feel like I've already gotten so close to the girls. They're so beautiful in such strange ways..
“I want to give my girls more, but a lot of the time there’s just nothing more to give.”
It's a blessing to be allowed into people's lives.. Sometimes it's even hard to comprehend just how beautiful it is. As photographers, we owe so much to our "subjects," the people that are willing to share themselves with us.. There is so much responsibility to do their stories and lives justice.. respect, love for another, openness in return... I feel like we owe that to other human beings in general, but it just becomes something so much more when we have a camera. The act of taking a picture is aggressive in nature- to TAKE a picture. to CAPTURE a moment. It's like you are borrowing a moment from someone else's life and preserving it- YOU are deciding which moment of THEIR life to do it with... It's just crazy in so many ways and carries a weight. Just think about how intertwined our lives truly are ("each breathe is recycled from someone else's lungs" - andi difranco) and in thinking of that, how much of the lives of others that you're capturing with a camera become your own. Think about it. I'm thinking about it a lot myself...
That also brings up this thought- If you are not balanced and open-hearted, can you truly go into a situation and be there, i mean really BE THERE in that moment and no where else, feel that moment, understand that moment, see that moment and share that moment in someone else's life if you are not truly in touch with your own being? I have more thoughts on these things, but shit... It's 1:23 am and i'm running on barely any sleep and 9 cups of coffee. So, sleep for now, more thoughts later.
I worked with Southeast Ohio Magazine a few weeks ago, on a story about the Bob Evans' legacy- Mrs. Evans, (Jewell), lives alone since Bob passed away one year ago. Photographically I was only allowed a few minutes, but she and I chatted for a few hours and even went out to get Mexican with her son. On the ride home, I had to laugh out loud, feeling happily surprised and lightened. That's one of the things about photography that keeps me holding onto it... The unpredictable, lovely encounters you can have that turn complete strangers into friends... It's like this key- an open door to exploring the beautiful lives of others and thus yourself. I feel like I'm cheating the system almost, by being able to see and explore so much beauty.
I can't stop smiling just thinking about it.