Caring balanced with objectivity

The story behind a photo of a woman and her daughter.

I met Michelle Castillo seven years ago when she was 16, a third-generation migrant whose family traveled between their home in Texas and farm work in Illinois.

My photographs centered on challenges she faced getting an education. Michelle was on a college track and would be the first in her family to go. Would she finish? Or get married and have children? It turns out, she did all three.

Last May, I photographed her through my tears as she received her diploma. I was so proud. She'd gotten married, had a child, and separated from her husband in the five years it took her to finish, but she never gave up.

People sometimes ask me how I keep journalistic distance from my subjects when I'm drawn to care. The truth is, I care very much. I've been with Michelle during some pivotal moments – her migration between homes, her marriage, her graduation – and been rewarded with intimate photographs and a glimpse into a lifestyle I would never otherwise have known.

There's an unspoken trust when I'm allowed into someone's life to document these unguarded moments. I believe I can care without risking my objectivity.

When Michelle and I said goodbye this time, we both knew it might be the last time we'd see each other. She lives far away, and her story had come to a logical conclusion. I'll miss her – but I love knowing there's a little Melanie in her life. She named her daughter after me.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK