Thursday, July 15, 2010

Amanda and Her Cousin Amy, 1990 by Mary Ellen Mark

“In 1990, Peter Howe at Life magazine sent me to North Carolina to photograph a special school for children with problems.
The school was a very strange place because all of the twenty or so children were in the same classroom and their problems ranged from mild behavior instability to severe schizophrenia.
Nine-year-old Amanda was the most interesting child in the class. Amanda was very intelligent and very naughty. One day I followed her home on the school bus. When the bus stopped at her house, she dashed ahead of me and ran into a nearby wooded area. I continued to follow her into the woods and eventually found her sitting in an old stuffed chair having a cigarette. She thought that I would reprimand her since I was an adult. But I said nothing.
The following Sunday, I spent the day at home with Amanda and her mother. Amanda totally controlled her mother. Amanda smoked openly in front of her.
Her 8-year-old cousin Amy was coming over, and she was very excited. All day long, Amanda and her cousin played like children. Every forty-five minutes or so, Amanda would take a break to have a cigarette.
Just before I left, I looked for Amanda to say good-bye. I found her and Amy in the backyard. They were in a children’s inflatable pool. Amanda was taking her regular cigarette break.”


No comments:

Post a Comment