How did the images come to be?
In some cases, I start off with a general idea, for instance, children who decide to have a water and whipped cream balloon battle in the house, or children who have had enough of their baby sister getting into everything and devise a plan to keep her “tied up” and busy for a while.
Then I find a location and gather some props. The children wear their own clothes, but I do ask that they wear solids or small prints, and that they don’t wear logos. I also ask that the clothing have vibrant and bright colors when possible.
And then, with the most basic of directions I capture the vision of the subjects in that setting, and create from there. I believe that my work is always an artistic collaboration with those featured.
In many cases, the children in the images were handed some items and given the general area in which we would shoot, and then they run the show. I may say something like, we are going to have a pretend water and whipped cream battle…and we can actually throw them when we finish shooting, but then it’s really up to them how they stand, where they stand, what they do with the props. In I Promise, You’ll Look Just Like That, the little girl in the hat and with a purse was not even told to be in the photo. She just happened to drop in to this scene wearing some items that we had with us.
At other times, the children are the inspiration for an image. By capturing children in a documentary style in daily life, I am inspired by what they do naturally and then incorporate that into a scene. In the image entitled, We Can Roast Our Own Marshmallows, this scene came about because the children, all dressed as they were that day (yes, one in just in a diaper, as she had taken off her clothes after getting them wet in the creek), found and carried this stick around for a good hour. The stick traveled (with all of them attached) from a creek, to an historic house, across a bridge, through a parking lot, and then the stick went home in the car with the little boy in the image. The stick had great meaning that day, and there was no prompting from any adult. This then turned into an idea for an image.
Do you add things or children to your scenes?
In some instances I have to import a child because that child wasn’t available when we were shooting, but I always use the child doing what comes naturally and then make it work on my end in the image. And yes, sometimes I need to add items that add to the story.
What do you want people to think about as they view the images?
What led to this event? What came before? What happens after?
What amount of planning went into the endeavor on the parts of the children? Was this a dictatorship, a team effort, or a spur of the moment collaboration?
Why do many of your images depict people leaving or entering the scene?
I love showing how a child’s world continues past the frames of the image. There are things going on beyond my lens. Hopefully it makes the viewers wonder what that might be, thus giving the viewers a larger role to play and giving them the ability to make an interpretation based on a limited description. This piece of information may not directly relate to the unfolding drama in the image, but it implies that the drama in the image is part of a larger world.
How do these images depict your style of photography in general?
These photos represent the creation of a visual vocabulary that is a continuation of the expression for all my work, either documentary or fine art, by incorporating some of my artistic key word descriptors: Whimsical, Non-Traditional, Irreverent … With a Splash of Mischief
Why do you like to print these images on metal, isn’t that a fad?
I’m certainly not opposed to printing them on fine art paper, but
so many things in a child’s life are metal. It seems to represent a child’s world better than paper. Swing sets, braces, lunch pails, Easter buckets, cookie cutters, sand pails, bikes, scooters, tricycles, razors (the ride on kind), some old timey slides, etc. And besides all that, it’s a fun and historical way to print when you think about it. Tintypes that became popular the 1800s (which were not printed on tin, but on thin sheets of iron) were made of metal, so if it’s a fad, it’s been going on a long time. Actually, I think it’s kind of a fun throwback. I don’t like my metal prints without a back board mat to surround them. I think they look unfinished. So when I print them, I have a metal and paper product attached to the images. So, while metal is great for individual pieces, my end goal and dream is to have the photos in book form, so that they can really “tell a story”.