GROWN UP WEST
When I first experienced the remote beauty of the Blackfeet Reservation in Northwest Montana, I was “visually overwhelmed. ” Immediately I knew this was a place I had to photograph and I have been working on this project for over a decade. I specialize in documenting children, so I was drawn to the beautiful yet harsh circumstances of kids growing up on the reservation.
While most media depictions of the Blackfeet Reservation focus on the pervasive challenges and severe realities, this project is intended to show a counterpoint: the positive, hopeful stories of strong and resilient people.
Initially, gaining access and trust were challenging because I wanted to document the community from the inside. I spent several years building relationships with individuals and families on the reservation, which earned me the intimate access that I needed to tell these stories. I came to care deeply about this land and its people. On every encounter, my connection to the Blackfeet community, Montana’s majestic, unforgiving landscape and the reservation’s complicated history was strengthened.
My short documentary film, The Ice Cream Man, was chosen by the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian to be featured in their Native Cinema Showcase. The film is the story of two Blackfeet brothers who defy the odds to launch the Kool Breeze Ice Cream truck on The Blackfeet Reservation.
To share stories like these with a wider audience, I am seeking out partnerships with organizations whose mission is to improve the lives of Native American youth.
For partnership opportunities, story assignments and photo licensing agreements, please contact me.
To view more of this project please visit grownupwest.com.