When Wendy Ewald arrived in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in 1975, she began a project that aimed to reveal the lives, intimate dreams and fears of local schoolchildren. Tasked with finding authentic ways of representing the lives of these children, she gave each of them a camera and interviewed them about their childhood in the mountains. Through these intriguing transcripts and photographs, we discover the lives of families as seen through the eyes of their children: where domestic, rural life is understood with startling openness and depth. In Portraits and Dreams, life’s most mysterious realities – love, loss, violence, death, new life – are given voice through an altogether novel discovery: the camera. We learn the eloquence and originality with which children see the world and we see a generous new way of engaging children in the possibilities of the photographic medium.
This revised and expanded edition of Ewald’s now-rare book, first published in 1985, and called “An American masterpiece,” offers access to a different and broadened view of the rural south over the span of 35 years, and includes contemporary pictures and stories by eight of the students from the original publication.