Individuals experience stages of growth throughout their lives. As infants, we are happy to simply exist. As children, the phase of discovery dominates. At this stage, everything gets our attention. “Oh, look! A bug!” “Oh, look! A crack in the sidewalk!” This is the most blissful part of our lives and the greatest irony is that we don’t recognize it as such at the time. This is probably best because it forms the part of us we will always look back on and wish to revisit.
As our personality begins to form and we find place in neighborhood and school, our perceptions gain wider perspective. Mere observation of the world around us no longer provides sufficient interest. We begin interacting with people and the world around us slips into shadow. More and more we focus on human interactions, opinions and beliefs. The ever-widening view of the world throughout the teen years has its foundation in the childhood naiveté that was once our complete existence.
We inevitably recognize we no longer appreciate the mundane as a source of magical first moments. There is the realization that we don’t view life as simple as it once was and we drown in understanding. It is that bliss out of ignorance we romanticize and perhaps wish to keep a hold of. The perceived demands we feel may further remove our inner child from our reality. It is this struggle everyone deals with in their own way.
The process by which these images were created in the summer of 2006 was collaborative between photographer and subject (who were strangers prior to this effort). The photographer developed the basic outline of the process and the subject was given freedom to express his spirit without limit. The result provides a unique opportunity for the viewer to experience the true essence of the subject – unhindered and unguarded – as the photographer was allowed to explore and present him.
The locations ranged from the deliberate to the surprising; none were produced for the project. Throughout the shooting, the subject’s character is explored through various actions. These also varied from the planned to the unexpected. Finally, what the subject wore, held, or did were not completely directed by the photographer.