I am in the process of photographing girls, ages 6-12, in natural settings wearing dresses that I constructed out of vintage tablecloths. The results have been magical, lyrical, and haunting. The dresses seem to take away the individual identities of the children and create a new group dynamic—a group identity. Photographing the girls in nature adds interesting layers of meaning to the images, including references to mythology, surrealism, and fairy tales. I think of the Three Graces, nymphs, dryads, and female heroes with their relationship to the gardens of the Gods. The twilight sky adds hidden drama and a surreal quality to many of the photographs. The landscape contributes to the ghostly images these girls project, as if they cannot exist in a fully realized place. Sometimes the quality of the light emphasizes elements of the girls’ lives that are fragile and doll-like in nature. Sitting on the ground with their skirts spread out around them in lovely folds, the girls seem almost flower-like, and that they themselves are growing out of the ground. I love the energy of the girls twirling combined with spiritual energy. It seems to give the girls a power they don’t have otherwise. Yet, there is also vulnerability and a delicacy with the body of work.
I try to create an atmosphere of playfulness during the photo sessions and document their time in the dresses in the most unobtrusive method possible. I let the images create a narrative rather than trying to impose one.