Pennsylvania Study
Central Pennsylvania
Fall 2008

This series documents children in the rural, middle-of-nowhere town in Central Pennsylvania in which I grew up. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I have struggled to make peace with this environment which is so isolated but also so beautiful. It was not until after my teenage years that I even began to come to terms with and to embrace these surroundings.

By inviting my young subjects into these natural settings, I am able to capture both the awe that child experiences, as well as the child as an overwhelmed, uneasy being, not sure of how he or she fits into the world. As in much of my other work, I explore childhood, adolescence and the development of self-consciousness and environmental awareness. I place my subjects into semi-staged compositions in which their own form mimics and or responds to the natural form of the environment. I choose to include a limited view of the environment so that equal attention is given to the form of the child as well as the environmental form surrounding him or her. My images are not meant to be traditional portraits, but rather photographs that include the human form as one element of a larger composition.

The result is a child’s bodily reaction to the environment exhibiting both discomfort and wonder. The child embraces the setting in which he or she is placed but concurrently struggles to cope with how his form interacts with the space it inhabits; for the subject there is a simultaneous connection with and disconnection from the natural world. While visual fluidity is apparent between the subject and his surroundings, uneasiness is evident as the subject searches within himself to react to and intermingle with the environment in which he is placed.