This is 13

I began this photography project about my daughter for one reason – as an assignment. As a moderator for a documentary family photography group on Facebook, part of my role was creating monthly assignments for the members within the group.

The assignment for January 2020 was to photograph a series: no more than eight photos, and all photos must've been from the current month. I didn’t consciously choose to photograph Hannah (at first). See, my daughter had/has been wrestling with mental health challenges for over a year at this point. She had just begun taking anti-depressants a few weeks prior, and the side effects were coming in strong. I was grappling with how to manage it all, and struggling with my own (in)abilities to parent the way she needed me to parent.

As the assignment began, I had no real direction. I was shooting just to shoot, trying to make something out of nothing. As this was occurring, I started seeing my daughter, through my lens. I started spending more time with her, photographing her different moods, the cadence of her life. I slowly began to see my daughter for the first time: the little girl she no longer was, the young woman she hadn’t quite yet become, and the human being in between that was struggling to figure out how she fit in this world. And suddenly my project had a focus – documenting her happiness, her sadness, and all the rest of it. So, while my project didn’t really begin as a project but more as a chore, it finished (and continues to be) a love story to my daughter, one I hope will allow her to see what the rest of us sees – a vibrant, intelligent, funny, compassionate young lady whose existence brightens my life in ways I never thought imaginable.