My initial obsession to document my daughter Appaloosa’s childhood is linked directly to the lack of imagery captured in my own youth. I have no memory of my parents taking photos of me. When I found one of the few that exist, it made me know that I exist too; it gave me confidence. It also made me anxious; I wondered why so little effort was made to record me.
Primarily, my project is a running record of a daughter growing up. I want to capture her moments of imagination, boredom and feminine providence as they unfold so she never feels unseen, like I did. It’s shot with the intimacy that being a single parent allows, and with the urgency of my middle-aged perspective, since my relationship with mortality, the passage of time, and the inevitability of loss are more pronounced.
My daughter is mixed race and her childhood unfurls in the confined spaces that urban living demands. Because childhood reverie is still often expressed as grounded in nature, sun-kissed, barefooted and blonde, I wonder how her confidence in the world is affected when her narrative is so likely to go unseen. This project is ongoing.
Kristen Emack is a photographer and educator who lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She holds a degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and although she took some undergraduate course work, she is primarily a self-taught photographer.
Kristen has exhibited in group and solo shows in the Greater Boston area and was awarded a Women in Photography grant at Maine Media Workshops. In 2015, Scout Magazine named her Best Photographer in Cambridge. Her work has been published in PDN and Rangefinder, and was recently selected for the Call and Response: Art as Resistance exhibition hosted by Strange Fire Collective.
Kristen’s work includes two long-term projects that look at childhood, family and visibility.