I have always been fascinated with children. While babysitting when I was younger, I realized how enamored I was with the idea that these small people were capable of the inherent emotions and thoughts parallel to those of adults. This realization is what inspired me to start photographing children.

Initially, I was interested in taking meaningful photographs of children just as they are, in their most introspective, thoughtful modes. This concept was a reaction against the sanguine portraiture that typifies commercial studios. I shot my photos solely in black and white and my viewers were often disturbed by the apparent emotional maturity of my young subjects. As my work developed, I began to see the children I was photographing as one element in a whole aesthetically driven composition- a visual object to be manipulated in space. I've come to realize that my work tends to be aesthetic-based rather than concept-based. The latter concept, it seems, is the current measure of the contemporary artist. Perhaps it is this reason that I all the more admire those artists who focus less on intended meaning and more on emotional quality that encourages a range of received meaning.

I would like to thank all the families, friends, and mentors who have helped to make this body of work possible. To them I say, "Thank you for putting such blind faith in me and lending me your children. I am forever grateful."


© Sarah Gainer /

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