Behind the Scene

Behind this shot  with sweet Evan M. -

Sometimes the best part of a picture is the story behind how it was captured. I'm not referring it’s technicality, but rather how the shot was born. I'm often asked how I was able to pose someone, or in the case of small children, get them to look at the camera. My style of photography is candid and I prefer to let things happen naturally. Kids will play, fight, dance or simply stare into the lens. But sometimes I need a little helping hand.

So, what's really creating  that sweet smile and beautiful sparkle in Evan’s eyes in the last photo? Securely in his swing and with his mother nearby, Evan was busy watching something off to the side, and was not interested in looking my way.  As I lowered my camera I quickly spotted them…. two young teenage girls chatting and giggling at the other end of the swing set. So, I did the only logical thing. I introduced myself and recruited them as my assistants. As the girls came to stand with me, Evan's gaze followed them! The girls chatted with Evan while I clicked away and the result was a series of great shots of this bright-eyed ladies’ man. Did I mention he was only 14 months old at the time? 

(click on the image to view larger)

Keen Sisters - Girlhood/Sisterhood

During the summer of 2006, I met a family in my neighborhood, the Keen family. I soon learned that the already large family with four daughters was about to grow by one within the year. Everyone was delighted when the following June, they had yet another girl! Everyone teased Michael about having 5 daughters, but he couldn’t have been happier, as he stated “I have a ponytail holder in every pocket already!” My passion for documenting children and families led me to photograph the five sisters for my Extended Photography Project class at the College of DuPage. For this project I inserted myself in the family home, documenting the sisters during their everyday activities: reading books, making school lunches, practicing piano, or simply doing homework. I concentrated on capturing the essence of each sister, both individually and together. My aim was to communicate what life was like growing up with numerous sisters. Connection, interaction and interdependence are core to the success of a large family. My photographs examine girlhood and sisterhood, and how they are interwoven in daily life and their relationships. I chose to print my images in black and white to create a sense of timelessness and unity. In today’s society, large families are becoming more rare. Factors such as financial concerns, increased distance between extended family, and time constraints with the many activities all contribute to the decline of large families. There is something very special about the sibling relationship, a bond that lasts a lifetime. This bond is even more profound when all of the siblings are sisters.