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.