child labor

metal worker’s daughter, Gujarat, India. 1995 (from series, ‘Prayer and Despair’
platinum-palladium print, 8×10 in
Thinking about child labor and the plight of the majority of families, while I wait for our second child to be born. This photograph was part of a set of portraits of a metal working family. The young girl here was about 14 years old, and ‘helped’ with various aspects of the smithing process. When is it unacceptable to practice and learn a craft? When one is too young, exposed to dangerous materials and tools? But which is better? To starve or bring home an income, regardless of age? Is freedom simply a matter of having choices? I feel fortunate, and free. May more children come into this world with parents giving them the gift of choice.