oh, how to describe emily? she is a student in my son's third grade class. i photograph the children every year for various projects and emily always stands out. she is a complete individual with a uniquely personal sense of style, dress and sensibility. her interests are led by her own curiosity about life, not what is currently in trend with pop culture. she keeps her hair boy short and only wears pants. her dress sense can, at times, be a bit costume-y, with a hint of the old world. it's so hard to be this much of an individual at such a young age. but emily has flair and confidence and insists on being who she is.
at the end of third grade emily was given the assignment to dress up in costume to represent france. while many of the children were super creative with costumes representing their respective country, it was the added significance of seeing emily showing off in a dress as marie antoinette, looking so lovely, that made the occasion extra special for her. her very talented and clever mother made the dress from re purposed curtains and fabric from the dollar store, draped around a framework of wire hangers. the fabulous hair? an old john adams wig, previously used for colonial day, that was teased up.
the whole spectacle was so fantastic. i wanted to photograph emily as marie in a more fitting environment than our institutional public school. luckily, we were able to schedule some time together and i spent an hour with her at the shakespeare garden in central park.
i am starting to find it limiting to just document the students and their projects, catch as catch can, in a busy hallway or corner of the school. the lack of control (and light) kills me. i am happy to do volunteer work for the school but images for myself? i see so many potential images, but fear intruding on the lessons and curriculum. which is why i guess taking the kids out of the classroom may have been inevitable. photographing marie antoinette in her element was so satisfying and fun that i have plans to photograph a few more third graders in costume, all on location. check back for shoots with children representing egypt, china, mongolia and russia.