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beauty in prison

I clearly remember this summer thinking that i should start transcribing some of my interviews but instead I curled up in the oversized armchair and watched movies with my mom. I knew this day was coming and I deserve no sympathy. So I am making the most of it with digestive cookies, honeynut crunch cereal and my camera. I decided I want to try and photograph everyday for fun…even if it is for 10 minutes….here are some from today along with some thoughts about this whole sound editing process (it is required for school…so just look at the pictures if you’re not interested….I won’t be offended)

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Despite my complaining…..I am so glad that I am listening to the interviews (many people in my class have said they are not dealing with their sound because it is too much work right now, which i completely understand, but my photos are dependent on the personal testimonies so i have no choice. ) I do wish I had taken notes as I interviewed though, or at least scanned them while I was still there, because I am hearing details that I wish I had photographs of….but that is a lesson to remember for the next project.

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Some of the interviews are really fun and others, like the one I just finished, are so so heavy….and I am torn. I am not sure how this is going to work. Reidville is a small town, and for the most part it has a very easy history, but it is not exempt from conflict, including racial tension. And the interview I just listened to is accusatory and full of pain, so much that the person did not want to be photographed (the photo is an illustration….the person in the photo is not from reidville, she’s from spain and she is one of my housemates and this is her favorite spot to sit in the house….in the living room I have taken hostage)

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I did not do the project so that i could do a glossy advertisement for the town…..but at the same time, I really like and respect the people I met this summer and I am grateful to them for letting me into their lives and trusting me. Now I have to put together this conclusion….and now as I am faced with compiling all the information I have, I am wondering how to put it all together in an honest, unbiased, unoffensive way……..because it is a small small town and I don’t want to be the grave digger that exposes people and leaves them vulnerable (and my mom lives there so I need to be able to show my face in the town again) but I also don’t want to sugar coat it either…it would be better if it were fiction….that’s it, maybe I can call it a novel….and change the names……..

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I can understand how history books are biased because no one wants to offend their friends and if you write stuff people don’t want to hear, you potentially lose your friends and potential jobs in the future……how many towns will want to hire me to come and dig up the dirt in their towns?…..fiction is definitely the way to go……

About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →

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