Point of view: Determined to rise above the bar

A Monitor photographer talks about what she sees in a photo of a young boy at a ballet class.

On assignment to photograph a ballet school in Maine, I came across a group of eager young dancers. As I walked around the room, I noticed a boy concentrating hard on his warm-up. He was undeterred by my presence, staring straight into my telephoto lens.

I like the graphic nature of the image, with the wooden bars crossing through the frame. They subtly place the children in a dance studio, rather than a classroom. And instead of distracting from the photograph, the ascending bars draw your eye back into the frame to notice the girls facing each other amid conversation.

Beyond visual elements, the image suggests something about childhood. You connect with the young boy barely able to peer over the top bar, because you know what it feels like to be a kid wanting to be taller, stronger, older than you are. And even though you grow in height, there always remains a bar of goals, fears, and expectations to rise above.

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