These photos were taken at "Rainbow House", a center that serves mothers and their children suffering from drug abuse and/or incarceration. I have been volunteering for this center for the past three summers and have built quite a friendship with the families there; however, it was not always that way. My first time meeting these people, I felt very distant from them because of our drastically different backgrounds. Nevertheless, as I worked with the mothers and the children more and more, I began to realize how these families were not much different from myself.
Formerly incarcerated people, families with incarcerated fathers, or drug addicts, these were the labels that I was scared of, and I was prejudiced towards them, which is common in our society. At first glance, these families look like a normal family, and some even appear happier than most. They are just like us, and at times, they are better off as they find the smallest occasions to laugh together and find happiness.
These mothers have survived through hardships that many others struggle through. They are now looking for a way to get through life and raise their children as single parents. This inspired the second series of photos. I had a great opportunity to collaborate with a fellow student from a different school. She wanted to make dresses for the mothers and daughters, which gave me another opportunity to have a photoshoot with them again.
This photography project with Rainbow House is titled, "Empower", because the strength of these families empower me as a photographer. The mothers have been through more than I can imagine; however, what gave them the drive to endure through the hardships was their love for their family. These families empower me.