2006-2010, archival pigment prints
“Backyards, BB Guns, and Nursery Rhymes” places a contemporary spin on familiar children’s stories in order to explore childhood innocence and the peculiar world of make-believe. Inspired by my experience of being a new mother, this series grew out of my desire to revisit childhood and ponder the developmental stage when one breaks into consciousness, becomes perceptual, and tries to negotiate conflicted feelings about the self, others, and the environment. Smashing apples on a porch, burying dolls in a sandbox, or running away from suburbia, the children in my photographs appear to be in the midst of some kind of mischief, trouble, or state of uncertainty. The literary reference, interpreted through dark humor and playful theatrics, helps to set up a point of departure in order to investigate deep-rooted, complicated truths about human experience. The aim is not to illustrate a specific story but to capture open-ended, unresolved moments which allow for various levels of meaning to emerge.
In order to imitate the fantasy world of children, my images are designed to sit on the cusp between reality and fiction. Part of my process involves merging my images with vintage Super 8mm film stock which creates the illusion of peering into a cinematic window. This introduces a voyeuristic quality to the work, commenting on the complex relationship that adults have with children and placing the question of innocence back onto the viewer’s lap. As we peer through this window, are we the big bad wolf, the girl, the woodsman, or grandma? Or can it be that we carry all of these characters inside of us at the same time?