The Lived Experience of Childhood (ongoing)
The Lived Experience of Childhood began as the antithesis of an inauthentic world I was forced to live as a child. The only photos I have from my youth are instances where my mother coerced me to stand and pose. Whether we were on vacation or celebrating a special occasion, every photo is the same, my face plastered with a fake smile, standing either with someone or in front of something deemed important. As I moved into my teen years, I would rebel, refusing to smile, even in the most joyous of circumstances, because I hated the fictitious display of convivial emotion that I wasn’t necessarily feeling in that moment. I comprehended early on that the faux world my mother pushed for us to create was more important to her than the reality we lived.
As an adult, I realized that when we force children to smile and pose, to be on their best behaviors, to only be photographed when they are clean and perfectly dressed, we are teaching them that their true selves are not worth remembering. We are teaching them that fake perfection is superior to factual reality. We are teaching them that genuine emotions, emotions that convey something other than happiness, whether real or contrived, do not belong in memory books. I aim to change this practice with my work. My objective is to create art out of simple childhood moments most often ignored by the lens. Whether I’m documenting my sons lived experiences on the autism spectrum, or my daughters struggle with mental health challenges, I want to show my children, and all of the children that pass in front of my camera, that a non-perfect life is ok - in fact it is wonderful, and all of the moments in between the good times and bad are worth remembering.