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The Little Things

December 17, 2008





When I was very young, and living in Indiana, our cousins from Michigan would come to visit from time to time.

One year, my cousin Tom came wearing a red and white polka-dot hat.

This was no normal hat, far from it. Not only was it covered in polka dots, it was bright red and was made in the tradition of the train conductor, so the hat was really tall in the front.

This cap was hideous, but we thought it was the greatest thing any of us had ever seen. We all wanted that hat, fought over that hat, screamed and carried on until we had those hats. My poor parents.

I’m not sure where these things came from, but we all had them, at least that is the way I remember it. It was the early 1970’s, in Indiana, which explains a lot. I also had bell bottom jeans with the skyline of a city bleached into them, complete with rhinestones for stars, homemade by my mother, just to give you a sense of place. Dad owned a swamp.

Fast forward to today.

So when I made these pictures, and I saw the t-shirt, “Make Toys Not Bombs,” a part of me said, “Ahhh, that is something that 50 years from now, these girls are going to look back on and laugh.

The shirt, unlike our rural Indiana polka dot hats, is not hideous, it’s actually really cool, but it is a small piece of life that will be frozen in time, as long as the negative or print lives, and can be tied to a specific time and place, and chapter in their lives.

I love details like this. They are the residue of who we are, who we were and who we will be.

I like images that are personal, and when you see something like this, it shows personality, individuality, and again, it is one step beyond the standard portrait. The pictures say, “This is us, right now, right this second,” and that is all we can ask for.

I’m not after the standard picture. I’m not there to cover the bases. I’m there for the 1-2 picture edit. Total.

I’m hoping that I can continue to photograph these two, so that I can build an archive of their lives. I know that next year, or the year after, there will be another red, polka dot hat in their life, and I want to see it, record it.

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