Tuesday, April 10, 2007

These are images that I made with film that will stay with the families of the sugar cane migrant workers. I think that disengaged or apprehensive look of the male figures in these images is partially due to the social context in which I made the images. In this region, sugar cane cutting is usually seen as shameful work and the fathers of these families were not very excited to be identified as sugar cane workers. So it seems as though most of these photographs happened only because the mothers and/or the children really wanted them. Also, in some cases, it was very difficult to get young children to sit with their fathers. There was lots of resistance and crying (that i didnt photograph) which added to this awkwardness.
The next step in this project is to start working on visual letters that we will send to the workers while they are away.
I think this process will work as follows:
I am going to give workshops to the caretakers about interviewing and letter writing and about how we are going to document the letters that the families make. Then the caretakers will sit with each family and with (or possibly without me) to make these letters.
The families will respond---by writing, drawing, or making photographs---to questions like these:
What was the day like when your father/husband left?
What has changed in your life since your father/husband left?
What is something you are proud of that you would like to tell him/show him?
What do you miss about your father, what do you miss doing with him?
Why did your husband/father leave?
Make a self-portrait.
What do you think your father/husband is doing now?