“On occasion, I take a step back and observe my boys not as their mother but as a photographer–an outsider–looking into the world that they have created of their own accord: haphazard forts built of scrap wood and roofing nails, rocks paths in the backyard leading to minute countries with seemingly impossible names, endless days of adventure, excitement, and fits of boredom. From a distance I listen to their interpretation of life, of what it means to be a grown-up, what it means to be a child.
It was then that I realized that the little boy, in all his glory, is so much more complex, more emotional, more intuitive, than the average person would be willing to believe.
I want to document the chasm that exists in a boys’ life–the space between infancy and adulthood that others seek to fill with expectations of toughness, steeled fortitude, and defensive posturing, while driving out a boy’s innate desire to nurture, to accept another being’s emotions and his own, to pretend what he likes and not what others expect him to imagine. I want to explore and document what I believe to be the wrong-headed “tough guy” posturing American culture forces on boys.
This (spontaneous) series was shot in our backyard pretty early in the morning, while my youngest was outside trying to find his roly-polie, Jack. (You can’t convince him that there are 10,000 of them out there. To him, there is only one, and his name is Jack.) I used my “consumer grade” camera (I started dipping my toes into photography about a year and a half ago, so I can’t justify a big, fancy camera, and my 50mm 1.8). I prefer to not be noticed when I have a camera in my hand, so I rarely direct people. In the instance of this series, the only thing I said the entire time was “What did you find?”, to which he replied, “Jack! I found Jack, Mama!” and he opened his tiny, dirt-smeared hands.”