We Live in the Shadow: Inner-City Kids Tell Their Stories Through Photographs

Elaine Bell Kaplan. Temple Univ., $27.95 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-4399-0790-0
University of Southern California sociologist Kaplan gives a group of preteens from South Central L.A. the chance to document their lives in this moving work. After telling them to “take pictures of anything you want to show me about your experiences,” Kaplan uses the results to assemble a well-researched narrative examining how the subjects “experience and react to the social problems associated with South Central,” their reflections on living there, and how they deal with daily challenges, including gang violence and drug warfare. Kaplan starts by explaining “photovoice methodology,” then interweaves her subjects’ stories and pieces from their photo essays with her research, reflections, and observations, confronting issues of class, race, and identity. Even casual anecdotes point to larger problems—teachers who don’t care and schools that don’t work. Referring to a photo of a chain-link fence, a student named Kyle writes, metaphorically, “If you’re on one side... you could say you’re on the outside looking in, as if you’re not part of their world. You look at it from the other, you can say you’re trapped on the inside in your own home.” 53 halftones. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-1-4399-0789-4
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