That the Bible teaches a way of life involving speech, dress, work, recreation, education and nonparticipation in politics and warfare has been the historical belief of Mennonites. There’s a wide variation of adherence to specific principles among Mennonite communities around the world, but avoiding the outside world, non-conformity, is a guidepost for most followers.
The community documented here allows their children to attend their private school classes up to the 10th grade. There is no television or internet in their homes, the men and women sit on separate sides of the church during services, and the women are encouraged to follow the lead of their husbands in the home. The men are expected to provide the bulk of financial support for their families that often consist of large numbers of children.
With humility they share their successes and hardships with devotion to their way of life and their community.
They have generously allowed me, a worldling, an other, to photograph them and their children at work and play, and share in the peace and simplicity of their lives.
As is true for many photographers, I don’t remember not being compelled by images and a means to make them. My father and his father were amateur camera men, and I confiscated the family camera for myself at a young age.
Believing in the relationship between the subject and the photographer helps me listen with my eyes and my camera. I often rest my camera while I try to discover who I’m with and then endeavor to take a photograph with a purpose. The hope is to make a photograph that allows the viewer of my image to connect with the subject in a similar way.
I’ve been privileged to study large families, isolated individuals, sisters, small town inhabitants, diner workers, laborers and currently, a Mennonite community living in rural Massachusetts. These are life projects, and a short list of work to be continued and extended.
To license this work for editorial, creative, or other uses, click on the OZMO logo above.
This will take you to the Ozmo website where you can review the cost and license for the photographs in this exhibit.
You will need to create an account with both Amazon payments and with the Ozmo website as described on the Ozmo website.