The Rainbow House Family
These photos are taken from a place called, “Rainbow House”, which is a center that serves mothers and their children suffering from drug abuse or incarceration. I have been volunteering for this center for the past three summers and have built quite a friendship with the family there. However, it was not always that I felt this close to the people there. My first time meeting these people, I was afraid of them, I felt very distant from them as if they were people from another planet. As I worked with the mothers and the children more and more, I began to realize how these families are not much different from who I am and the people around me. Which are these first family photos exemplify.
Former incarcerated people, families with an incarcerated father, or drug addicts, these are all the labels I was scared of and I put on them even before getting to know them, which our society commonly does on people. However, with out the explanation, when looked at the family photos, these families look like a normal family and some even more happier than families around us, which they are. They are just like us and sometimes better as they find the smallest occasions to laugh together with and find happiness in.
These mothers have survived through a hardships that many others struggle to and now are looking for a way to get through life and raise their children by themselves right now in their life. Which inspired the next second series of photos. I had a great opportunity to collaborate with a fellow student from a different school, where she reached out to me. She wanted to make dresses for the moms and daughters, which gave me another opportunity to have a photoshoot with them again.
This photography project with the Rainbow House Family is titled “Empower”, because these powers empower me as a photographer. The mothers have been through more than I can imagine, however, what gave them the drive through these hardships were themselves and their love for their family. These families empower me.
In Catholicism Virgin Mary is an important figure since she gave birth to Jesus, which Catholics give her a large amount of credit for giving birth to their God figure. This figurine of the Virgin Mary in the photo is a nightlight that was a gift from my mom to my grandmother and later on was gifted to me before my grandmother passed. The picture is subjected to conveying the beauty of motherhood. Even though the picture as a whole may be beautiful, not every part of it is beautiful, such as the dried up and dead petals. Motherhood is such a valuable part of life, but not every part of It is celebrated due to the labor and time it consumes out of a woman’s life. Without the sacrifice of mothers, the world we live in right now would not have been possible. Also, within the photo, the Virgin Mary figure is not the object in total focus and is a bit in the background. This exemplifies how mothers do their work not as the main characters in our lives, but as immense support, just as how the figure is still a large portion of the photo. Without the figure, the photo would not have the same beauty as it has right now, just as our lives would not have its value as we do now without motherhood and our mother figures.
My Definition of Masculinity
Masculinity: qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men.
The modern definition of qualities or attributes of men has been a constant debate. Personally, I believe there is no definite standard of masculinity. In the Bible, it says, as the creation of God, we are all created equal. Therefore, how ever anyone of us are made we are all equal. Exemplifying how no characteristic of any man decides who is considered a better man than the other.
As a man, sometimes it is hard to be myself at times when certain characteristics of myself are not considered “masculine”, and at times it is harder to be yourself for a man than a woman. This can be huge fault of the male population themselves, as a lot of them try to emphasize being tough and “manly” and consider any other an outcast.
In this artwork, I wanted to show how a man can wear makeup and take care of their beauty in anyway they want, and even though it may not be the “normal” way a man takes care of themselves as seen in society, we can still see beauty and how it is not a wrong or bizarre thing at all. It shows how a perfect man is a man who feels comfortable in their own skin and their own God-given natural qualities and attributes.