Family Album (Five Chapters) > Chapter Four: Hutterites

her face was still within the frame
her smile frozen in place
the stillness of her silent figure
was the petrified form of grace
it was almost eerie,
how she had no life
when her eyes were bright and open
yet so far gone, none could revive
her beauty, which was still there
yet unmoving and so still
until the end of time and space
until the end of memories will

As I was loading my car getting ready to leave the colony a girl approached me with a crumpled piece of paper on which she had written this poem. "This is what I think photography is," she whispered and then disappeared. As I was reading the poem I cried. I cried again that evening, for her, for me, and for Nina Weiste. When I returned to the Colony school the next day I told the girl's teacher about the poem. "She does that all the time," was the response. I tried to explain that my project objective was to better understand why we have a need to create photographic documentation of our lives, and what photography means in general. Problematic questions for even the most educated. However, a thirteen-year old member of a conservative religious sect that does not believe in photography came the closest to describing what I was looking for.

Hutterite student making a self-portrait
Hutterite student making a self-portrait