When I worked with children on the spectrum I found that two of my students, along with their younger brother, lived down the road from me. I became friends with the family and this series began.

 

I had never photographed children before. I was working on the Remnants of Adam series and didn't know at the inception of my idea why I wanted to photograph these brothers. I just knew I was inspired. The experience soon became a backwards glance at my own childhood. Afternoons were spent in the backyard where the boys would play, most of the time separately, each in a world of their own making. Just a quick walk down the road there was a lake and a cemetery and we would sometimes spend time swimming or exploring the grounds. 

As the series progressed, I remembered years before I had glanced through Sally Mann's Immediate Family  at a Walden Books. As a kid I didn't like the book; it was filled with nude photos of her children and I felt uncomfortable looking through it. Revisiting it as a young adult in my twenties, I saw poetry in the images. When I learned that she used an 8x10 camera to photograph her children, my appreciation for her imagery expanded. Photographing  children with a Mamiya 645 came with its own challenges, but using a bulky 8x10 camera and making captures that hold such immediacy was impressive to me.

I also learned Mann had begun exploring antique processes and I related to this as well. Each print in this series was a dry plate tintype or ambrotype and uses aluminum or glass coated in silver emulsion. I'm certain that our inspiration to photograph came from different places, but it was also similar: to document the ephemeral because every-thing passes.

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© 2018-2020 by Christian Bradley West