SEVEN I find the graceful ambiguity of seven-year-olds charming. Seven focuses on a particular age in life: an age marked by significant developmental and personal changes combined with greater societal expectations. Seven-year-olds embody the confidence of an older child overlaying the innocence of a younger one.
I have been photographing seven-year-olds since 2009 when my son turned seven and the brilliance of the age became evident to me. I have made portraits of 30+ children while they were seven. It is an oddly challenging, problematic portrait project. Images of children are distorted in our society, our view of them influenced by the abundance of advertising, school portraits, and film and television representations. Within the constraints of the project I try to record an alternate reality.
Seven is an age of transition – in it, a child exists somewhere between small and big, dependent and independent, unsure and confident. Imagination still looms large in the child of seven, but there is a new presence of logic and the desire to understand the world and one’s place in it. At seven, children move outside of themselves and become empathetic towards others. Seven is referred to as the age of reason under common law because of the developmental emergence of a sense of conscience and the societal understanding that at the age of seven children become responsible for their actions in a way that was not possible before.