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Heather Perry

Heather Perry

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Kids in the Hood - a personal project

"As a professional photographer, travel and immersion in new places is part of my job. I find myself in new neighborhoods all the time. Quite often I'm welcomed with open arms, made to feel at home, have trouble leaving. I become a part of a place. I also have a strong connection to my home in Bath, a small shipbuilding city on the coast of Maine. The undeniable link I always find between my home and the neighborhoods I visit around the world is the kids that inhabit them. While adults can differ greatly in customs and points of view, kids do not. I see them doing the same things in vastly different places. There's a separate, unspoken, worldwide culture shared by kids. I have challenged myself to take a photograph of them every day for a year, no matter where in the world I am working. This project is called Kids in The Hood.

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"This project is helping me to define my own understanding of what neighborhood means, from a kid's eye view. I'm understanding that neighborhood has very little to do with a street address, and much to do with being part of something larger - being connected to people who enrich my experience, who are nearby for struggle and joy, and for whom I can offer the same. And I'm learning that our sense of neighborhood is formed when we are very young.

Kids in The Hood is at the point where I've started drawing some conclusions. Big sisters call the shots. Sticks are a boy's toy of choice.Teenage girls gather in tight circles in New York City, in Kona, Hawaii, in Bath, Maine. Everywhere, kids like to climb trees and play in water. There are gritty, beautiful scenes in these neighborhoods, and these are the moments that form the social building blocks for kids who will depend on each other as adults.

I'm not done yet. There are more photographs to make, more things to learn. I'm no longer the mother of a kid who runs around in a world outside of myself. I'm an open shutter in the midst of a great river of youth and energy. These kids feed me creatively, force me to stop and listen to voices beyond the three in my household, and make me receptive to all the youth and colorful energy available in the world around me."

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